13 minute read

What Is Mobile Workforce Management? Benefits, Trends, & Tips

Want to improve your mobile workforce management? This guide covers everything you must know, from the latest trends to practical tips for success.

Mobile workforce management

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Key takeaways: 

  • Mobile workforce management simplifies and improves scheduling, dispatching, communication, and mobile tracking.
  • Using mobile workforce management, you can increase your team’s productivity, improve communication efforts, and boost employee satisfaction while saving costs and improving the customer experience.
  • It’s important to invest in the right tools and set aside enough time to get your workers on the same page.

If you’re in charge of mobile workers, you know it’s not as simple as your employees showing up to work whenever they want and enjoying the flexibility of life without a supervisor looking over their shoulders.

This is especially true if you’re in charge of multiple employees doing field work and interacting face-to-face with customers.

Mobile workforce management platforms are one tool to get all employees rowing in the same direction, especially if your team offer on-site service to customers.

Effectively completing these tasks needs specially designed tools to improve customer satisfaction and increase productivity across the entire team.

This article will introduce several tips and tricks to help managers optimize their mobile workforce management (MWM).

Before you finish reading, you’ll learn what services MWM offers and how it can serve your large or small business and customers.

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What is mobile workforce management?

Mobile workforce management involves using tools to assist mobile workers as they complete jobs in the field. When used effectively, your mobile workers’ productivity and job satisfaction can significantly rise.

Consider this a win-win for everyone involved.

These mobile workforce management tools can also track customer satisfaction and supply employees with the necessary resources to do their jobs effectively.

Translation: You’ll have fewer questions to answer and more time to bask in the glory of a job well done.

Effective mobile workforce management can mean task management tools, communication software, and other tracking tools to gauge performance and engagement.

This is especially useful for remote teams and employees like sales representatives or delivery drivers who primarily work outside the back office.

Mobile workforce management software can help you manage the following tasks or points of data: 

  • Scheduling. Mobile workforce management software can create, manage, and automate employee scheduling. This means your workers don’t have to wonder where they’re supposed to be or when they should show up for work.
  • Dispatching. MWM allows managers to dispatch employees to new job sites quickly. Your customers will love how quickly you respond to their requests.
  • Communication. Dispatchers and deskless workers can quickly communicate in the app, simplifying the process of sharing instructions and updates and changing assignments as needed.
  • Availability. Mobile workers can update their schedules and regular working hours and even sync their digital calendars with their work calendars.
  • Mobile tracking. Mobile workers can share their location, making it easy for supervisors and clients to know their whereabouts and work status. The software can also log employees’ start and end times.

You’ll sometimes hear mobile workforce management compared to field service management. Although they have similarities, they’re not identical and won’t accomplish the same goals.

Field service management has more to do with physical asset management, while mobile workforce management addresses specific employee concerns.

If you’re dealing with people and not physical supplies, MWM is what you need.

Confusion can also result from thinking about mobile workforce management alongside managed mobility services (MMS) because there’s a similar contrast.

MMS has to do with connecting out-of-office workers to various databases and servers so they can access information.

MWM serves a different purpose — connecting mobile employees with different services and software to use in the field. So, if you’re in charge of managing people, MWM should pique your interest. 

As you think about your organization’s specific needs, you’ll better understand what system can most benefit you. 

Mobile workforce management: The benefits and challenges

Mobile workforce management offers several benefits for companies in client-facing roles.

Since these organizations depend primarily on human put and contributions, they should take steps to support employees throughout different cases and workflows.

If you can figure out how best to cater to field employees through your software, you’ll optimize and simplify many of their most common job functions.

They’ll be happier, and you’ll have a more productive workforce.

Knowing the benefits can help you better understand how mobile workforce management contributes to an effective team spread out across multiple locations.

You may also experience challenges as you move forward, but you can reduce the effects by preparing for obstacles in advance.

Keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of mobile workforce management. 

Benefits of mobile workforce management

Mobile workforce management is quickly gaining in popularity as many team leaders recognize its unique benefits.

Here are a few of the main advantages you can expect from MWM:

  • Increased productivity. Teams can get more done when they don’t have to spend as much time completing mundane tasks or taking multiple steps to accomplish simple projects.
  • Stronger communication. When employees work in multiple locations, communication is more effective when each team member can communicate in real time, regardless of where they are.
  • Higher levels of employee satisfaction. Employees’ job satisfaction may increase as their jobs become easier. They’ll also feel more aligned with team members working toward similar goals.
  • Cost savings. Mobile workforce management can help teams cut expenses, minimize errors, and allocate resources better. 
  • Higher visibility. You’ll have a much easier time tracking where your deskless workers are and responding to any possible incidents. 
  • Better transparency. Most team leaders appreciate the transparency that mobile workforce management can give through real-time location tracking and status updates. 
  • Improved customer experience. Mobile workforce management software often leads to fewer missed appointments and delays. Workers can also use these tools to communicate with customers and give higher levels of personalized service.
  • Provides data for decision-making. Your mobile workforce management solution can track relevant data to assist you as you decide how to manage your team and relate to customers.

Challenges with mobile workforce management

Managing a mobile workforce doesn’t come without its own unique set of challenges. Knowing about these challenges in advance can allow your team to take steps to avoid or overcome these issues.

Problems you may face could include:

  • Security concerns. Take multiple steps to keep your data safe from potential threats and hackers. Consider multifactor authentication and advanced data encryption as potential actions against possible security threats. And choose a password that’s harder to guess than just “password.”
  • Cost of implementation. The cost of implementing a new mobile workforce management system can be high in terms of time and financial resources. Consider pricing throughout the process of choosing your preferred mobile work platform.
  • Complexity of process. Mobile workforce management needs the use of new forms of software, which can be a difficult adjustment for team members who are used to doing things in a certain way. 
  • Different roles. Many companies now have a mix of full-time, part-time, and contract employees. Due to the different levels of engagement, some mobile teams can have issues to face related to scheduling and mistakes about data interpretation.

The good news is that knowing about these possible obstacles can equip you to take steps to reduce their effects (or avoid them entirely). For example, you can consider how employees in various roles use the MWM software.

These expectations can determine how you train workers in the new system and how you evaluate their effectiveness as time passes. 

As the field of mobile workforce management continues to expand, several noticeable trends are starting to develop:

  • Automation of tasks. Technology can streamline your team’s productivity by automatically completing mundane, time-consuming tasks — so workers can focus on higher-level projects. 
  • Virtualization of the workforce. Teams no longer have to be in the same physical space to complete their work. Mobile workforce management makes it easier for employees to collaborate virtually and complete projects without face-to-face interaction. 
  • Increased demand for mobile-first solutions. Because mobile solutions are easier to access, many people feel drawn to the convenience and expedience they can give  
  • Use of social spaces. When employees don’t work in the same shared space, they can often feel isolated or disconnected. Try to include a social element in your mobile workforce management solution to instill greater teamwork and togetherness among your employees.
tips for mobile workforce management

Tips for implementing mobile workforce management

Once you’re ready to implement mobile workforce management into your business, here are some tips to help you streamline the process:

  • Identify areas of potential improvement. Your system can always get better. As you bring each team member up to speed on the new platform and complete on-the-job training, find ways to optimize your workflow and improve your operations.
  • Invest in the right tools. You’ll learn more about choosing the right platform in the section below. It’s important to choose the tools that give you the best chance of accomplishing your specific goals and objectives. Since pricing often reflects value, we recommend choosing the best option for your team and not just the cheapest platform. 
  • Train your team on the new system. Set aside a time when you can train everyone on the new platform. Make it clear how each person can use the system and walk through key steps to avoid confusion. 
  • Protect all information. Since you may share or store sensitive information on your platform, you want to make every effort to make sure all files are adequately protected. Consider using advanced threat protection and security measures, such as encrypting data, performing routine security updates, and requiring multifactor authentication for all users. 
  • Consult with someone already using MWM. If you have a connection already using MWM on their team, sit down with them to discuss what’s worked well and what they wish they would have done differently.

Mobile workforce management software 

Investing in the right tools is crucial to implementing mobile workforce management software into your company.

Thinking critically about what features or functions your mobile workforce management software should perform can help you decide what platform fits your organization best.

Here are some of the most popular platforms for mobile workforce management in today’s world. Each of these companies can enhance the workflow in your mobile workforce.

  • ADP Workforce Now. Known as a leading worldwide payroll service, ADP Workforce Now allows employees to clock in, review pay, and perform workplace safety check-ins from their mobile devices. The platform also produces in-depth insights and reporting on employee and company performance. 
  • Oracle HCM Cloud. Oracle Workforce Management enables teams to link time, labor, and leave management into a comprehensive platform that manages payroll, financial, and personnel data. Key benefits include the opportunity to create a safer workplace and the ability to quickly adapt to changing business needs.
  • Resource Guru. With Resource Guru, the beauty is in simplicity. You can quickly schedule your team’s time, and you can even try the platform for 30 days to better understand how it will work for your company.
  • UZIO. This cloud-based platform fully integrates HR processes, payroll, benefits administration, and time tracking into a single simple-to-use platform. UZIO is trusted by more than 150 partners and 50,000 employees.
  • QuickBooks Time. With QuickBooks Time, employees can clock in from anywhere using their mobile devices. Data will sync to the administrator’s QuickBooks account in real time to confirm accurate tracking.
  • Zoho Recruit. Zoho Recruit helps clients grow their businesses by giving e-time sheets, schedule templates, and customizable invoices. The result is faster and more effective communication with everyone involved. 
  • Deel. Deel is especially popular for companies looking to hire contractors and employees spread out across the world. Their platform consolidates payroll and streamlines HR operations to make access easier for everyone, regardless of location.  
  • Paylocity. Paylocity makes career development and employee training by allowing supervisors to assign various courses and tasks to different employees. Subject matter experts (SMEs) can even create courses for students to access in the mobile app from wherever they are.
  • Rippling. Thanks to Rippling, supervisors can manage employee benefits, expenses, and payroll in one place. They sell specific products, such as HR, IT, finance clouds, and the Rippling Unity platform — a combination of various functions from different sectors.
  • Alvaria Workforce Management Suite. Alvaria exists to equip companies for better workforce engagement membership. They want to elevate the customer and workforce experience through their various contact center solutions.

As you can find  some platforms specialize in one area of mobile workforce management, while others attempt to give a more general or universal approach that accomplishes various tasks.

how to choose mobile workforce software

How to choose the right mobile workforce management software for your business 

Several options exist for mobile workforce management software. Each choice offer its own features and benefits.

Here are some questions to ask that can help you determine which platform is the right choice for your company:

  • What are your needs? The reason for getting or purchasing mobile workforce management software will differ for each company. Take some time to think about why you need the software and what benefits you hope it can give.
  • What features are most important to you? Perhaps you want an all-in-one software solution, or maybe you’re more interested in a platform that helps you manage employee time sheets, communicate with various stakeholders, or oversee the distribution of employee benefits. 
  • How much does each option cost? The amount you’ll spend on mobile workforce management software will vary depending on how many employees you have and what sort of package you’re considering.
  • What are internal communications like? If you plan to use the platform to communicate with workers in the field, you’ll want to research how effective the communication software is and what features it offer  You may also want to find for an app that allows you to send urgent or high-priority messages to all employees simultaneously.
  • What metrics does the software track? Depending on what metrics you’re looking to track (more on this later), you’ll want to choose a platform that offer all the information you want. 
  • How can you get feedback about the app? If you want to streamline feedback channels for employees to share their opinions on your platform, consider using software that allows you to get employee surveys. 

Best practices for successful mobile workforce management

Now that you know more about mobile workforce management, consider integrating this technology into your business.

Here are some best practices for maximizing the impact that mobile workforce management can have on your team:

  • Establish clear goals. Decide what actionable outcomes you hope to find from integrating your new mobile workforce management system. Knowing these goals can allow you to determine whether you’ve succeeded.
  • Create robust policies. Be clear about how each person should use the system and what benefits it will give. This can eliminate confusion and increase motivation to integrate the new technology. Effective implementation needs tightening up your application and defining acceptable use.
  • Invest in training. Make sure each team member has the skills and knowledge to use the system properly. MWM training is also essential to your onboarding process for new employees.
  • Practice effective communication. Give everyone permission to ask questions to clarify anything confusing or unclear. This can help improve problem-solving and decision-making and strengthen your team’s camaraderie.
  • Ask employees what they want. If the purpose of your mobile workforce management is to serve your employees in the field, you should take the time to ask them what they need to perform their job well. If you do this, you can expect greater buy-in and excitement when introducing the new system. 
  • Encourage unanimous buy-in. For the new system to work, everyone must be aligned. You’ll accomplish far more when all team members row in the same direction. 
  • Continue to improve. Your system won’t be perfect on day one. Constantly find ways to tweak the system for better results and increased performance. 

Track your success: Key performance indicators in mobile workforce management

Each team should determine what metrics they’ll track to confirm the effectiveness of their mobile workforce solution.

Possible metrics may include:

  • Efficiency. You might track how long it takes to complete each project and what resources (hours and equipment) the team uses.
  • Employee performance. To best track this metric, you should establish specific goals for employees to meet and compare their performance to the original targets.
  • Response time. Measure how long it takes employees to respond to assignments and track what (if any) improvement they make over time.
  • Utilization rate. Some companies track the percentage of time employees are engaged in the most productive work or have the highest return on investment (ROI).
  • Customer satisfaction. Most companies already track customer satisfaction. To specifically apply this metric to this scenario, you can evaluate how customer satisfaction changes after the introduction of mobile workforce management.

Before you choose which metrics to track, your field workers should come together and define clear goals for what the team must accomplish.

Give everyone a chance to share ideas before you decide what to track. It’s less frustrating than if you have to hear complaints after you put something new in place.

Monitor data regularly to make sure you’re headed in the right direction, and share data with all relevant stakeholders so everyone is on the same page about the team’s progress and performance.

whats next for mobile workforce management

What’s next for mobile workforce management?

As time passes, mobile workforce management should continue expanding and developing. Here are some trends you can expect to emerge within mobile workforce management in the coming years:

  • AI technology. Most people are aware of the arrival of AI software and the significant impact it’s already having on the way that many people work. As AI continues to improve and expand, it could affect how mobile teams implement and use mobile workforce management. 
  • Advancing mobile technology. As time goes on, advanced mobile devices can perform new tasks faster. Mobile workforce management will continue to develop along with these devices, and it could improve how teams use these systems. 
  • Greater emphasis on employee health. The last few years and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for employee health initiatives. Mobile workforce management will overlap by implementing employee-centric models and looking for ways to invest in employee growth and happiness. 
  • More diverse workforce. Many teams already boast significant diversity in location, role, and experience. This trend is rising and should continue to grow in the coming years.

Businesses should expect more from mobile workforce management in the future, but the need for a dedicated mobile workforce management team may also increase.

In this article, you’ve seen how mobile workforce management can improve collaboration and effectiveness among your team.

Continue to research and learn about mobile workforce technology so your team will be fully prepared to implement the software and reap all its rewards.

Lastly, don’t forget the primary goals of implementing a mobile workforce management solution.

The key purpose is to help in the ongoing development of your large or small business (and the retention of customers) by increasing employee engagement, addressing inefficiencies, and supporting your remote workers to the best of your abilities.

Mobile workforce management offers an opportunity to impact each of these areas significantly.

If you’re specifically after a platform that can help you decrease delivery costs and plan efficient routes for drivers, set aside some time to discover Circuit for Teams.

Your team will log fewer failed deliveries and put smiles on more customers’ faces thanks to our route planning software that reduces drivers’ stress levels.

Quickly add a list of drivers and deliveries, and the platform automatically creates the quickest route for your team. You can see what deliveries are en route and whether each delivery will arrive on time. 

Many users report saving multiple hours each day thanks to Circuit’s route planning.

Customers can stay engaged throughout the process with up-to-date email and SMS notifications. 

And drivers can use signature and photo proof to confirm their final destination was the right stop.

Try Circuit free today.

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.

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