More people are choosing to employ mobile workers than ever before thanks to the flexible nature of work. This is sure to continue with the introduction of new technology, especially in client-facing industries like sales. Is taking on a mobile workforce really all that different from managing a traditional internal worker? We take a look at some of the expectations of a mobile worker and how to incorporate that into your management style.
You wouldn’t expect your in-house staff to constantly work outside of their hours, nor should you expect that of an external worker. While overtime can be beneficial during busy periods, you should discuss this in advance to ensure employees don’t suffer a burn out. Not only will this make them miserable at work, it’ll end up costing you if they have to take time off due to exhaustion. A study by Fast Company shows that too much overtime, unfair compensation and an unreasonable workload were the top three contributors to staff suffering from a burnout. Speak to your employee to find out if their workload is too much for them before assigning them more work.
Taking on a mobile workforce means picking up new ways to keep them on track. Paper-based systems are no good for those travelling as you want people to be agile and able to access systems on the go. Mobile workers differ from internal staff as they can’t find the information from the company computers, nor can they walk into the office to ask how to complete a task. Introducing a cloud-based management system like Total Mobile can give them everything they need at their fingertips. With features tailored to their needs, this app includes a dynamic scheduling system and even maps to get them where they need to be.
When managing any team, it’s important to get to keep them motivated, regardless of where they are based. According to Business.com, high levels of employee motivation are linked to higher levels of employee engagement which, in turn, causes a boost in efficiency. While the management expectation is the same for both types of staff in terms of motivation and morale, you may have to approach it differently for external workers. It’s important to let your staff know when they’ve done a good job, so ensure you check in with clients to see how your mobile workers are getting on. This way you can give them positive feedback when needed, as well as working with them to solve issues rather than leaving them to deal with this on their own. Remember to include them in company rewards to keep their motivation high and help them to feel part of the team.
As well as keeping them motivated, managing a mobile workforce shouldn’t mean leaving them to their own devices. Feeling forgotten can be detrimental to morale, especially if they’re excluded from company meetings or celebrations. Make sure you let them know of any relevant meetings and let them call in using a conference phone so they can chip in. Not only will this help them feel important, you’ll gain an insight into what they’ve been working on and where they are in the process. It’s easy to assume your mobile workers aren’t being productive just because you don’t physically see them working, so keeping in touch and using a cloud-based system will help you know exactly what they’re doing. You’ll be able to manage them more efficiently based on this system and spot what isn’t working for them. Get this right and the principles and expectations need not be much different for mobile workers.