How to manage mobile workforce

What is mobile workforce?

Mobile workforce consists of employees who work outside of a traditional office setting.

Mobile workforce management is central for companies that have field employees such as delivery drivers, technicians, or salespeople. They need mobile access to track and manage employee performance for their crew members that are away from the office.

Illustration of an employee on the go - to signify mobile workforce

Everyone is a mobile worker after 2020

Even while COVID-19 has reduced or cancelled all travel, the work-anywhere mindset of digital nomads still remains. The transition to working from home has become to mean working from any remote location. And this has essentially transformed all office workers into mobile workers.

The core team can no longer rely on the water-cooler talk to get business done. Therefore it is also easier to work with outside talent. This means gig workers, and temporary collaborators on the go are easy to onboard.

Does mobile workforce need different kind of management?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is yes, and it’s probably a little more difficult than managing a stationary workforce. Fostering a sense of belonging and maintaining a strong company culture can be more challenging. Managing expenses, reimbursements, and travel logistics can become a significant aspect of management that requires careful oversight. Effective communication and team management tools are much more vital to keep a mobile workforce connected and productive.

Measure things done, not time spent

Performance measurement in managing a mobile workforce emphasizes outcomes and achievements rather than traditional time-based metrics. Instead of focusing on the number of hours worked, the emphasis shifts to evaluating the quality and quantity of work produced. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are tailored to align with specific projects, roles, and organizational goals, providing a clear framework for assessing individual and team performance. These KPIs often include project completion rates, customer satisfaction scores, task completion timelines, and overall contributions to team objectives.

Provide trust and autonomy

Successfully managing a mobile workforce is founded on autonomy and trust. With a mobile workforce, individuals often work in diverse environments. Unlike a traditional office setup, where supervisors can physically observe employees, a mobile workforce requires managers to trust that their team will manage their tasks and responsibilities effectively, irrespective of location.

Providing autonomy demonstrates the belief in employees’ abilities to make informed decisions, manage their time efficiently, and contribute meaningfully to the organization. Setting clear expectations and goals can empower the team to figure out the best ways to achieve them.

Flexibility and independence

Unlike traditional office-bound teams, a mobile workforce often has the freedom to choose where and sometimes when they work. This flexibility allows employees to tailor their work environment to their preferences and needs. They can adapt their schedules to optimize productivity, accommodate personal commitments, or align with their most effective working hours. In essence, it’s about focusing on outcomes and allowing employees to manage their time efficiently, ultimately fostering a healthy work-life balance.

How to outperform your competition with a mobile workforce

In many industries, you can quickly earn a competitive edge over other companies who still work the old-fashioned way. A digital app lets you dispatch a worker within minutes. Is your competitor taking their time to check tickets, send emails and fill in Excel forms to reach the same result?

Bringing extra workers on board can make the major difference between a struggling company and a successful business. Having a suitable software solution in place will let you easily accommodate multiple kinds of employees in the same platform. Some are committed to their job from nine to five on a daily basis. And some stay with your company for a very short period of time.

Well-implemented workforce management software increases productivity and the operational efficiency. But it can still keep a human-centric focus to meet customer expectations and the preferences of employees. Not all people are alike, so having a flexible system allows you to get constant results out of personal working styles.

Not all staff management tools are meant for mobile

Common office apps are designed for large screens in an office environment. Devoted mobile apps are much better for the mobile crew to use in transit, on a worksite, while visiting a client.

Eventually, the key is implementation— the perfect solution is what works for your team’s productivity. The important questions you need to ask before making the choice are:

  • Will this solution make our life easier, not more complex?
  • Can team members use it on their devices?
  • How complicated is it to learn? Do we have the skills and resources to provide enough support and education to team members?

Surely there is a good choice out there for all kinds of teams. Are you upgrading from a grid notebook? Or are you still doing data entry in spreadsheets so that anything is an upgrade?

Some administrators are tired of using complicated database tools (because everyone loves simplicity over function). You just need to find the one that’s working out for your business.

👉 Here is a list of our favorite mobile workforce management apps.

👉 Or jump directly to our very simple workforce management app. It only takes a few minutes to start a free project to manage your employees on the go!

How to choose a workforce management app for your mobile employees

There are tons of workforce management apps out there. But not all of them are perfect for amobile team that is always on the go. Software for managing mobile workforce is a category of its own. The difference is that it caters to people who move around and can only access their mobile devices.

Suitable software typically has features such as time and attendance tracking, job scheduling, job dispatch, and job reporting. Employees usually access the environment through mobile apps. And managers can view and track the locations and activities of their employees – often in real-time.

A central task management app that replaces Excel sheets, endless emails and phone calls is a dream for all team managers. These things tend to be extremely inconvenient also for employees on the go. So a good workforce app can be a magical solution for everyone!

The needs for mobile workforce management software can be industry specific

Here are some specific examples of industries that manage mobile workforces and how they benefit from using mobile workforce management solutions and apps:

  • Transportation and logistics: a courier company that delivers packages.
    A suitable workforce app helps in route optimization, real-time tracking of deliveries, and efficient allocation of tasks. This reduces delivery times, minimizes fuel costs, and enhances customer experience.
  • Healthcare: a home healthcare services provider.
    They need an app that aids in scheduling patient visits, maintaining medical records, and communicating with healthcare professionals. It ensures accurate patient care, timely visits, and seamless information sharing.
  • Construction: a construction company managing multiple job sites.
    A management solution that assists in assigning tasks to construction workers, tracking equipment and materials, and sharing project updates. This leads to better project coordination, reduced delays, and improved resource management.
  • Field Services: HVAC repair and maintenance company.
    They need management software that helps in scheduling repair appointments, accessing customer histories, and tracking technician locations. It enables faster response times, efficient problem-solving, and personalized customer service.
  • Retail: a retail chain with in-store merchandising teams.
    A suitable app supports managing merchandising tasks, tracking inventory levels, and communicating promotions. This leads to consistent product displays, timely restocking, and effective promotional campaigns.
  • Utilities: an electric utility company.
    Effective software will assist in dispatching field technicians for repairs, monitoring power outages, and tracking maintenance tasks. This ensures quicker outage restoration, efficient maintenance, and improved reliability.
  • Security services: a security company providing guard services.
    A suitable mobile workforce management app will support scheduling shifts, tracking guard patrols, and documenting incidents. It ensures comprehensive security coverage, accurate reporting, and quick incident response.

Choose an app that is safe and secure also on the go

The transition to remote work has relaxed corporate rules to allow employees to connect from home. Large corporates are able to reduce the affiliated cybersecurity risks with setting up additional safety measures. But for small businesses who just recently used to rely on a grid notebook on the office table, ensuring digital safety is still a major challenge.

If your employees work outside the office environment using mobile devices, it’s your job to keep things secure. And your best bet is to implement a secure mobile workforce management solution. This way you can make sure only your employees can check client addresses, access inventory, and sign delivery slips.

Implementing mobile workforce management software

Getting started with a company-wide app is always intimidating at first. But everything is possible with the right tools.

Good mobile workforce management software promotes good management and a better use of time. Setting up task-oriented processes help the independent workers increase productivity. This lets them do their own time-planning and optimise the tasks based on their routes and availability.

Remote and mobile work require the work to be designed around tasks. This is a formal process that demands a lot of work upfront and can be an unfamiliar approach for many managers. But supportive software solutions will help them overcome these challenges.

We can learn about innovative management processes from the leading digital industries. Self-managed teams are common in IT projects. Agile methodology can produce great results also outside digital design and software development.

Many third-party solutions are available to implement in-house, and many software providers also offer custom branding and functionality. This is especially useful when you want to have your own logo on the management app.

How we can help

Zelos Team Management is a very simple mobile workforce management system. It is perfect for small and medium businesses. Sign up for a free account on our website or contact our team for a free personal demo.