The problems with being over-cautious with mobile workers

Written by Jordan Saunders

One of Virgin boss Richard Branson’s favourite business maxims is, “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business”.

It’s the simple idea that workers who feel happy, contented and engaged with what they’re doing are going to be better for your business - more productive and dependable.

And making sure employees are on your side is vital when you’re running a business providing mobile goods or services. Your entire reputation is based on whether your employees can meet deadlines and deliver what’s been promised.

So it’s understandable that a boss or ops manager will generally try to avoid doing things that risk causing ‘ripples’ amongst a workforce. You don’t want to disrupt the smooth running.

But if you’re not careful, it can become dangerously counterproductive. 

over cautious with mobile workers

The problems of being over-cautious with mobile workers:

  1. Your business becomes risk-averse
  2. You miss out on the benefits of new technology
  3. You will fail to get the most productive mobile workers
  4. You may struggle when it comes to recruitment

Your business becomes risk-averse

Given the option, most workers would rather stick to what they know and will greet any kind of proposed changes with grumbles. But short-term annoyances need to be balanced against the long-term gains of switching to better systems.

Get the balance wrong and your organisations risks becoming a ‘set it and forget it’ type of business; one which grimly clings to rigid and inflexible ways of working despite better alternatives being available.

You miss out on the benefits of new technology

Digital technology is helping to transform mobile working - providing smarter, safer and more efficient ways to get things done. But one of the most common reasons bosses will give for not switching to digital systems is that their mobile workers, ‘won’t be able to use it’.

There’s an ingrained belief that anything involving technology must be complicated. In reality, the success of digital systems are based on their ability to provide much simpler and user-friendly work processes than traditional paperwork approaches.

Typically, after only a couple of hours using a new software set-up, employees’ fears will dissolve. The systems are designed to be simple and intuitive to use - no matter how technologically savvy the person is.

You will fail to get the most productive mobile workers

You shouldn’t underestimate the ability of employees to adapt to change. While workers may be sceptical about a new system, it’s more a fear of what they don’t know rather than any reflection on their abilities.

With proper support, good communications and a phased approach, employees can easily adapt to new work processes with minimal disruption or discontent. By providing more effective tools and reducing the amount of time wasted on paperwork, allows for a more productive mobile workforce.

You may struggle when it comes to recruitment

There’s now a generation entering the workforce which has known nothing other than a fully connected digital world. For these people, a business which communicates via a multitude of paper documents and forms can seem strangely archaic.

For a potential employee, it doesn’t send out the signal that they’re going to be joining a forward-looking and growing organisation. They will be drawn to working environments that are more attuned to the digitally connected ways they live their lives.

So while the natural instinct when running a mobile service business is to avoid anything that risks getting in the way of workers doing their jobs, it’s something that can stifle the growth of a company.

It requires balancing the risks of any kind of short term disruption against the long-term benefits that can be gained from switching to faster, safer and simpler processes.

So it is vital you don't be overprotective and enforce your vision on the business if you want productive mobile workers.

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