Mobile workforce management technologies are providing solutions to an increasingly mobile reliant workplace. It enables employees working remotely, off site, or in the field to be in communication on a real-time basis using a mobile device - such as a smartphone or tablet. It’s not just field-services that are turning to mobile workforce management software, companies in every global industry are noticing the “shift” in workplace diversity, and are implementing mobile processes to stay agile, efficient and up to date.
However, every major process decision or technology overhaul comes with an evaluation of pros and cons. Here are some ways HR teams, CFOs and business owners can scrupulously appraise the mobile workforce solutions in the market today.
Why are Companies Implementing a Mobile Workforce Management Solution?
The first thing to consider, is what a mobile workforce management (MWM) solution offers your business and its processes. There are two ways to look at this: what will it do for your managers, and what will it do for your employees.
Managers will benefit from being able to view and approve time off requests, approve and edit time cards from with in an App, and communicate directly with their employees no matter where they are working. For managers, if these every-day (or weekly) tasks aren’t mobile accessible or automated, they can become an ineffective use of their time. Visibility into critical management data and productivity will allow them to make informed business decisions, in real time.
Employees will use the technology in a different way. They can easily view their schedules and locations, request time off, access their balances for sick days, vacation, or paid/unpaid time off, punch in and out with GPS, and connect regularly with peers or managers. Making these tasks quicker, and accessible “in the palm of your hands” will empower employees to be more effective and communicative.
What Should Companies Consider a “Con” of MWM?
You’ll hear a lot of praise for how cost-effective and productive MWM will make your business. The statistics, reports and success stories don’t lie, but there are a few things decision-makers should consider disadvantages of implementing a mobile solution, so that they can put remedies in place to address them.
For example, organizations that deal with complexities of unions, or strict labour regulations, should note that the mobile workforce can blur the line between work and personal life. The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) stipulates that employees require compensation for every minute they are “permitted” to work by their employer. That means, something as simple as an email response after hours, could qualify as “hours worked”. This could lead to significant overtime payments and arguments over compensation or what qualifies as “overtime”.
In cases like this, you want to ensure that you’ve developed a tailored and thorough strategy for rolling out your mobile technology. Communicate your strategy clearly with your employees to mitigate any question of non compliance with fair labour laws. Make sure managers know that employees are not expected to respond after-hours, and follow union or labour laws as required.. Transparency and setting expectations is key to success. You want to make managers and employees lives easier, not create a messy grey area between work and personal life.
Is MWM just for Millennials?
The face of the workplace is certainly changing, and a new generation of employee is emerging with a different set of expectations, and modus operandus. But that doesn’t mean mobile technology is designed with one generation in mind. In fact, workplaces have been embracing mobile processes and technologies since the 1990’s. The stereotype isn’t accurate if you look at the complete picture: reports show that most employees who work mobile are 35 years old, or older. About half, are 45 years of age or older. The fact is, a mobile workforce has been a big part of a traditional workforce for a very long time - it’s just becoming more common, and effective, in large part because technology and invention is making it easier.
Really, what’s changing as new generations enter the workforce, is that new, cloud-based collaboration tools are providing more opportunity for jobs to be mobile and for teams to connect.
Do I need a MWM Solution?
Mobile technology is changing the way work is accomplished, how businesses are addressing customer service, and how critical decisions are being made. It has been said that work is no longer a place you go, but defined by the tools you use, wherever you go.
If you are considering a MWM solution, you’re probably struggling with the following issues:
Your workforce is changing faster than expected and your software simply can’t keep up.
It’s difficult for workers in the field to find and update the information they need.
The time your managers spend planning and updating schedules is out of control because you still rely on manual methods.
You have no visibility into what’s happening in the field until the end of the day or when employees call in to report an issue.
Communicating schedule changes tends to be unreliable.
A robust, and customized mobile solution will help you address these pain points, head on. Automated notifications, communication tools, scheduling, tracking, and real-time access features will streamline your entire process, and empower your employees from the top down.