Out of Sight, Still In Mind: Managing Off-Site Employees
There are a number of businesses that operate on a semi-remote working basis. Companies that arrange for tradespeople to visit homeowners or dispatch IT techs to different businesses, for example. These employees are not technically remote workers, but they do work off-site and keeping track of an entire field team can be extremely stressful.
If you run a business that relies on field workers, or you hope to in the future, you will quickly learn that out of sight does not mean that your employees can be out of your mind. As the business owner, you will have to coordinate and organize these field operatives during the working day, and doing so might be trickier than you think.
To allow you to keep track of all of your employees and the work they are completing for clients, you’re going to want to keep the below aspects in mind.
Use Field Management Software
Okay, let’s get a basic out of the way first: you’re going to need to use some form of field service management software. That’s a given. Trying to keep track of remote employees without dedicated software is a surefire way of overcomplicating and ultimately damaging your business operations. Do your research, manage your budget, and then choose the software that works for your company. However, software alone is not enough to truly manage a field team of operatives.
Insist On Strong Levels Of Communication
When hiring employees, it’s vital that you emphasize the need for strong communication skills. Field employees have to be responsible for reporting information back to you, and this should be emphasized as a key component of the job.
If you find that your field operatives are not regularly communicating with you, you should treat this relatively seriously. Employees must know that they have to feed back to the central office throughout the day. They can enjoy a certain level of independence, but they’re representing your company, so you need to be able to trust they will always communicate with you if they experience problems and/or delays.
Hire The Right People And Evaluate Ongoing Performance
It’s not just communication that needs to be on point when it comes to managing off-site employees, you have to be 100% certain you have hired the right people to begin with.
These employees will be representing your company. Everything they say and do while visiting a client will reflect on your business. Your hiring practices have to be airtight, and you have to conduct continued performance evaluations. This may involve asking businesses to evaluate the service they receive from an operative, potentially in exchange for a small discount on the cost of your services. This is a price worth paying to ensure that your operatives are always offering the kind of customer service you would expect of them.
Managing and maintaining a large field force can be tough, but if you follow the advice above, you and your team shouldn’t go far wrong.