In case you missed it, remote working is all the rage now.
Millions of workers around the world have been forced to work from home, quickly adapting to the challenges (while at the same time enjoying unexpected benefits like the lack of commute) of remote working.
It’s simple for corporate office workers, right? There’s Zoom, Slack, VPNs, virtual yoga sessions and workouts, dedicated time for virtual water cooler conversations...the list goes on. While far from normal, white-collar workers have, across the board, enjoyed a relatively smooth transition to remote working.
But what about managing the deskless workforce remotely? The likes of healthcare workers, grocery store employees, warehouse staff, and couriers have shown everyone how important they are to society during the challenges we’ve all faced. They still need to be managed and their managers need tools and processes in place to make remote workforce management effective and efficient.
Here’s what you should look for in a remote workforce management solution:
1. Is it built for mobile?
Remote workforce management is made infinitely easier with a solution that’s mobile-first. The app should be simple to use, intuitive, and require little (or even zero) training or instructions. Employees should be able to see their schedules, managers should be able to approve shifts being switched, and everything should be seamless. The best apps make our lives easier, look great, are super clear and enjoyable to use. Any WFM app you use for remote workforce management should be exactly the same.
2. Does it let you respond instantly to events outside of your control?
Uncertainty has dominated 2020. If anyone can predict what’s going to happen next then they have a better crystal ball than we do. All kinds of fast-moving elements are in play; from government restrictions to employees having to quarantine if they get sick. This makes good workforce management even harder than it usually is and, one of the most important things businesses that rely on deskless workers need right now, is the ability to respond instantly to changing circumstances.
A WFM app enables flexible working by giving your employees the power to easily switch shifts while at the same time giving your managers a simple toolkit to make more shifts available and fill open shifts - functions that can also be automated with advances in AI and machine learning.
3. Can it provide accurate forecasts?
Poor, inaccurate forecasting can cost you in many different ways. By not scheduling enough staff to meet the demand you can lose out on sales and, on the flip side, scheduling too many staff can see your labor cost spiral out of control.
Demand forecasting is key to a good schedule. For example, in food delivery logistics, being able to accurately say what you expect in terms of orders received, where they come from, what size they are, and where they are going will enable you to create a much smarter and more effective schedule. While in retail, 3-7% of sales are lost due to rigid scheduling, understaffing, and poor forecasting.
With the help of AI in your remote workforce management tool, you can leverage recent actuals to see what’s going to happen next and then schedule for this demand accordingly.
4. Does it make communication simple?
Good communication should be seamless, simple, and hassle-free. However, our State of the Deskless Workforce report found, on average, only 10% of employees in the tech-savvy Nordics are contacted through a company app. The figure falls to between 5-7% for the US, UK, Netherlands, and Germany.
The best workforce management apps can be used for everything from messaging to task management, with everything happening in one place. It’s maximum results for minimum hassle - both for you and your employees - and it makes remote workforce management much easier.
5. Does it make your life easier?
There’s no point in finding a solution to one problem which then immediately creates three more new problems. Ask yourself this: “Will a remote workforce management app makes your life easier?” The best WFM solutions will. They’ll be admin-busters, easy-to-use, save you time, save your company money, keep your employees happy, and they can be used anytime from anywhere.
If you’re still using a legacy system or have limited mobile functionality within your workforce management solution, you’re making life much more difficult. This is compounded in your employees who will quickly grow frustrated with what they perceive as being outdated processes.
To recap, a WFM app should:
- Give users a smooth and easy experience with a simple mobile view.
- Be intuitive so the end-user can use it straight away without an instruction manual.
- Learn from user behavior so it can be improved with future developments.
- Be developed by companies with a mobile-first mindset.
- Have good reviews from the end-users.
Download our free guide to find out more on how you can boost your workforce and business with a WFM app.