Scheduling for Field Service Employees – Best Ways to Manage it
Companies with employees in the field require unique management and scheduling methods. Unlike businesses that monitor their employees throughout daily activities and can physically see them take a lunch break and return to their desk, field employees are on their own – sometimes all day. To build trust among management and staff, and ensure that job schedules are being maintained, it’s important that some level of communication always remain open.
Fortunately, the world has come a long way since the invention of the internet. In the past, field employees might have phoned in or had to drive back to head office to punch in and out for different tasks. Now, modern technology has made it easier than ever before to follow your team wherever they go without ever leaving the office.
At Arborgold, we design business software for a select group of industries. Most of these industries require their employees to work in the field. Whether you run a successful pest control company, or a landscaping firm, using specialized business software can help you better manage scheduling for field service employees. Here’s what you need to know.
Use Real Time Job View Apps
One of the ways managers can stay on top of field service employee activity is through a real-time job view program. Seeing which jobs have been started, paused, or completed as they happen, helps you support your team and better manage future schedules in the future.
Real-time job viewing is best done through a mobile app or desktop software. As each employee begins or completes a job, they check it off from their own smartphone or tablet. This updates across systems throughout the company. This puts everybody on the same page as to what’s been done, needs to be done, or can’t be completed.
As a manager, if you notice your employees are taking longer to complete a project, you might find that the team requires an extra member for the next task of that size. Or, perhaps you need to chat with the team about their time management skills. Whichever the case, the important thing is that you are in the know about project success and employee status. Thus you’re better able to manage scheduling for field service employees.
Find a Digital Schedule Management Tool
Many companies who send employees into the field begin work early in the morning. This makes it difficult for employees to notify management if there’s a backup on the highway and they’ll be late to work, or if they’re sick and spending the day at home in bed, rather than on the job. Another real-time tool employees can use is a digital schedule app. This differs from the job management tool because it’s not just clocking in and out of tasks, it’s requesting time off, requesting vacation, collecting on a sick day, etc.
Some software even provides access to an employee’s current record of sick and vacation time, which can be drawn from. As the employee adds a sick day to his or her record, management is notified. This early notification is far more convenient than waiting on a phone call, and it offers more time to find a suitable replacement or speak to the client about postponing a start time.
At Arborgold, one of the features we supply in our scheduling tool is the option to add automation to recurring jobs. For example, if your brand has an ongoing biweekly appointment to maintain the gardens at the Hilton downtown, your scheduler will update biweekly without the need to manually retype instructions and details. This lets you manage scheduling for field service employees without expending extra time and energy.
Monitor Availability Through Business Software
Another way your field business software and scheduling tools help is by showing you every member of your staff who is available for a job or currently working on a task. When a new bid is approved and your team can get started on a job site, you can see who is available to take the task on. Better yet, you can drag and drop the appropriate employees into the job, giving them titles as they go so everyone knows their role. These employees will see the job appear in their own app or online tool as soon as you confirm the update.
An amazing benefit to this type of availability and scheduling tool is that you can choose employees based on location. For example, if each of your landscapers has a company truck, and one lives close to the new job site, while the other lives across town, you can select the closest available individual for the job. This saves on company gas and wastes less time on commuting to the job site each day.
Streamline Information into One Space for Less Confusion
Emails, text messages and social media primate messages are all great ways to communicate digitally. However, when you’re communicating with a team, they can get confusing, information gets missed, emails get lost in junk filters, and it’s a mess. At Arborgold, our goal is to help our clients streamline all the information they need into one easy to find location. Through our unique business software, you can not only monitor team activity, availability, and proximity to the job site – you can also communicate as a group.
All the information sent through our service can be stored in the cloud, recalled whenever necessary, and it updates in real-time. This means nobody misses a job because their phone is on battery saver mode and email servers aren’t updating regularly. Instead, everybody stays on the same page from the beginning of the day until staff clocks out to go home.
You can send a blast update to every employee on your roster or select individual employees to receive the information you wish to share. Whatever the case, everything remains in the same location making it easy to recall.
Use Visual Maps for Easier Navigation
It’s not always easy to manage scheduling, especially if someone gets lost on the way to a job site. The client needs to be contacted and alerted to a late start, the employee expends more gas finding their way back to the job site, and you waste good daylight. To rectify this, Arborgold offers a visual map for easier navigation.
Now, you might be wondering, “why wouldn’t I just use Google Maps?” Absolutely, you could. However, Google Maps isn’t incorporated into your already pre-existing business software and mobile crew app. When you use the map created specifically for field employees, all the information on the job site and the current crew are there alongside it. You can watch as crew members arrive, see where the job is located, and help navigate lost teammates back on track in no time.
Try Arborgold Business Software
At Arborgold we’re in the business of helping other businesses succeed. We work with landscapers, snow removal experts, pest control specialists, lawn care professionals, and more. All our clients run successful businesses that deal with unique clients and staff management. We understand how unpredictable managing field staff can get. That’s why we designed our mobile crew app and associated tools to improve your effectiveness as a manager, and as a business owner.
If you’re interested in learning more about tools that help manage scheduling, or you want to try Arborgold’s landscaping business software, give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have and show you more about what Arborgold can do for you.