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5 challenges of managing a mobile workforce

Written by Contributor, on 11th Jan 2019. Posted in General

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Flexible working has become increasingly popular over the last few years, allowing staff to work from a convenient location rather than trudging to the office. It gives employees more responsibility while allowing them to care for their own personal responsibilities, resulting in the perfect work-life balance.

There are a multitude of benefits to taking on mobile staff including: not requiring a bigger space, having staff that can easily visit clients in their area as well as a bigger pool of choice when it comes to employing a new team. Thinking about taking on your own mobile workforce? While there are a huge number of benefits, there are some challenges to consider too.

Here are the five potential challenges of managing a mobile workforce that may crop up and how to get around them.

Team mentality

Having an office based team as well as mobile staff can occasionally lead to a ‘them versus us’ attitude. Quash this problem before it starts by encouraging regular collaborations between both teams to spark positive communications.

Creating a unified team should be a focus of any business from the get-go and having both types of employee working on the same project is a great way of promoting healthy, positive discussion. There are plenty of other ways of promoting teamwork regardless of where your staff are in the world. From making the most of social media to staying connected with a cloud, Forbes has plenty of ideas to help you create a united team.

Management

Managing a team that’s largely out of the office may seem practically impossible but technology has made it surprisingly simple. Mobile workforce management systems like Totalmobile offer a plethora of features to help you keep track of your staff’s progress while giving them all they need to get the job done efficiently.

By using a cloud-based app, you’ll be giving your worker everything they need at the touch of a button, with no need to lug around heavy equipment or lots of paperwork. Cloud-based apps are perfect for collaborating on projects, helping to promote teamwork while fine-tuning your mobile management skills.

Morale

It can be all too easy to forget about mobile workers when it comes to company benefits and positive feedback but this can have a detrimental effect on their work. According to HR Network, there is a strong correlation between morale and performance that simply cannot be ignored. Those with higher levels of work morale were easier to manage, have less sick days and give better customer service, all of which can help make a company a big success.

Morale clearly boosts team productivity and motivation, regardless of where the employee is based. Offering incentives is a great way of boosting productivity and loyalty during a long project, as is hosting an annual event - just don’t forget to invite your mobile workers or it may have the opposite effect entirely. Leaving them out of workplace perks sends the signal that they aren’t valued members of the team. If you’re questioning why this is important, ask yourself: why would they go above and beyond for a company that doesn’t value them?

Keeping in touch

Once you’ve tackled communication in regards to management and teams, you should look at how often you’re checking up on your mobile employees. It’s all well and good sending your staff updates regarding their tasks, but getting to know them on a more personal level is always a good idea. It’ll help build their confidence in you and your management skills, making them more likely to approach you should something go wrong.

Productivity

Many of us will assume that those who work outside of the office can get away with less work, but this is far from the truth. In fact, a study showed that mobile workers take significantly less leave and work more productively than those permanently in the office.

So while tracking productivity levels may seem like an issue, it’s actually not that hard to keep on top of it. Changing up your management style and keeping up communication are the key ways of ensuring you're getting the most out of your staff while keeping them happy.

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