Managing remote teams has its own unique set of challenges.
In industries such as contract cleaning, autonomous team members often spend their workday alone, carrying out their shifts at unsociable hours. And a remote team may very rarely come together, so making sure a team remains positive, productive and protected has to be done from a distance.
This is where workforce management technology comes in. Using software can help you schedule your team’s shift patterns, monitor their output and communicate instantly, as well as helping your employees feel safe and part of a team.
Here are 5 ways that technology can be used to effectively manage a remote team.
1. Keeping your team safe
Putting technology into the hands of remote workers is an important way of keeping them safe. Smartphones and mobile apps make it easy for remote teams to clock in and out of shifts or appointments, providing both a timestamp and location information via GPS. This data is then pushed instantly to a central monitoring system, giving reassurance that team members are where they should be. In IQ:timecard from Unique IQ, you can view your team’s last known location on a map – using the GPS snapshot taken as they clock in/out.
Many workforce management systems also have in-built alerting functionality, which sends text or email alerts if a remote worker fails to clock in or out, or does this outside of an expected timeframe. Office staff can therefore respond quickly in the event of a worker failing to show, giving the employee reassurance that someone is looking out for their welfare.
2. Communicating well
In our digital workplaces, there are countless ways for team members to stay in touch. From Slack to Zoom, to the plain old telephone, we are not short of ways to communicate with each other. So why add another system into the mix?
Using workforce management technology in the context of managing your remote teams, offers precise communication tools, with connected workflows that guarantee that the message has been received, acted upon or passed on. In systems like IQ:timecard, texts, emails or in-app alerts can be sent on mass to make employees aware of vital information – such as a new policy or change in shift patterns. Likewise, important input from employees can trigger an alert for managers. For example, when a team member completes an accident or incident form in the IQ:timecard mobile app, a copy of the form is sent via email to the nominated supervisor, and a task created within the management system to investigate and log the outcome. A full audit trail is generated via the free flow of data between the mobile apps of remote workers and office-based systems.
3. Setting clear expectations
Lots of workforce management systems contain the ability to specify a series of tasks to be completed on each job, as well as organising the schedule itself. This provides the flexibility of setting clear expectations for each job without the need for a formal briefing, regardless of the team member assigned, helpful when cover is needed. Tasks can be viewed on the go within a mobile app and ticked off as they are completed – with their status at any one time viewable within the management portal.
In IQ:timecard, this ‘tasks’ functionality has the added benefit of a mandatory setting, which prevents an employee from clocking out before a particular task is completed. This gives an extra layer of assurance that work is completed as required.
4. Keeping track of time
Moving from a paper timesheet to workforce management software makes keeping track of time, pay and activity incredibly easy to manage. Rather than driving around to collect sign-in sheets, employee timesheets can be created automatically straight from all that lovely clock in and clock out data collected via a mobile app. Even better, you know it’s accurate. Transfer this information over to finance and your payroll is done. Easy!
5. Making it easy to do the job
Lastly, giving your team access to workforce management technology makes it easier for everyone to do their job, saving time, money and increasing employee satisfaction. Remote workers out in the field know they are being looked out for, have all the information they need at their fingertips and a lot less admin to do. No tedious paper timesheets or mileage claims, or not knowing whether they can get to their next job in time. Meanwhile supervising staff can oversee the status and whereabouts of their team at a glance, with access to a wealth of data for managing staff and evidencing service delivery.
Want to know more about the benefits of remote workforce management software? Take a look at our dedicated resource guide.
Learn more about Unique IQ’s workforce management system – IQ:timecard.