Poor communications stifles productivity for a mobile work operation.
Effective management simply isn’t possible when you don’t have fast and effective ways to interact with your teams of fieldworkers.
That’s why digital technology has such a crucial role to play in improving mobile workforce productivity with access to real-time communications and work data.
But the rise of cloud-based apps and services has created a new challenge - which tools do you choose from the dizzying array of different options?
The best apps to boost mobile workforce productivity:
- Google Docs
If your business operation still relies on pieces of paper being manually shared then it’s time for a rethink. Google Docs provides a cost-free, simple and reliable way to enjoy the benefits of digital documents.
The cloud-based service allows documents, spreadsheets and forms to be created and shared across any size of organisation. Instead of having to print out and distribute paperwork for each recipient, you create one document and allow fieldworkers to access it online from wherever they are.
With no need for employees to physically pick-up and drop-off paperwork, it cuts mileage costs and allows administrative processes to be automated. It also removes the information lag as any data generated is instantly accessible.
How do you keep in touch with a team of mobile workers when they’re constantly on the move? Traditional methods - calls, emails, texts - make communications a time consuming and frustrating task - the bigger the team, the worse it gets.
This is the problem that Slack is so good at tackling. It’s a cloud-based system that’s designed to share work information and messages. Messages are instantly available to everyone within a designed team, accessed via desktop or app.
What makes this so effective is the ability to create sub-groups of employees, known as channels. So a manager can interact instantly with all mobile workers from a particular department, region or project.
Trello is ideally suited for any kind of management of fieldworkers. It’s basically an online noticeboard where schedules, tasks and lists can be created and shared between teams.
This is all done using virtual cards which can be moved around the virtual board to show what stage each task is at. Cards can be allocated to teams or employees with completion deadlines set and automated reminders sent out.
With information handled in real-time, everyone within a team always has access to the very latest schedules, job allocations and status updates. It allows for a fast and agile form of management with the power to significantly improve productivity.
Don’t let the techy name put you off. It stands for ‘If This Then That’ - it’s a computer programming term which describes exactly what it does.
It lets you create mini rules that automate processes and allow your various online services and devices to start ‘speaking’ to each other. So, a simple example would be creating a rule - if you miss a call from a particular contact, IFTTT will automatically create a task reminder to return the call.
Or another example would be using it with your smartphone to create a Google spreadsheet that automatically tracks and logs how much time you’re spending at different work locations.
There are thousands of these kinds of rules, known as ‘recipes’, that are already available to use. You can also easily create new recipes that relate to the specific needs of your mobile work operation.
An important part of mobile management is the ability to handle the sheer amount of information that’s now available - emails, documents, reports, web-pages etc. It’s the ability to control this digital flood that makes Evernote such a great tool.
At the most basic level, it’s a note-taking app. What makes it different is that it can handle information in just about any format - from a simple text note to PDFs, webpages and videos.
All of the information is stored via the cloud - allowing it to be accessed from any device. And the ability to tag notes allows a mass of information to be managed with items easily found via the search option.