Smarter remote working

Dec 14, 2015 • Featuresfield servicefield service managementService ManagementSoftware and AppsManaging the Mobile Workforce

The latest developments in remote workforce management are helping companies to get more from their field service teams, explains Paul Ridden, CEO, SmartTask .

For field service companies that provide contracted, scheduled staff to client sites, workforce costs are a significant overhead, especially when you consider the constant pressure on margins and the need to provide innovative services to win new contracts.

Remote workforce management has been around for some time, helping companies to capture proof of time, attendance and work completed, enabling them to monitor the status of their teams centrally. Now systems are emerging that bring all of these components in to a single package along with the other key back office functions required to effectively manage field service teams. As a result, they can now provide complete peace of mind that personnel are safe while ensuring they are delivering the services agreed.

Existing staff located at client sites can take on additional tasks such as inspections or audits

Such tools can work alongside systems including payroll, invoicing and rostering, using real-time data to verify timesheets, provide accurate proof of work and overcome scheduling challenges. This is helping to maximise profitability of contracts using the most appropriate employees, billing correctly and not overpaying. Meanwhile, it is possible to integrate intelligent rostering and control room to automate and streamline operational processes as well as reduce office-based administration costs.


Based on a framework of electronic proof and attendance it is becoming possible for existing staff located at client sites to effectively take on additional tasks such as inspections or audits, enabling organisations to provide areas of differentiation to clients and make best use of resources to boost profitability. There is also an opportunity to provide a tool to register an operational issue or risk, irrespective of the remote worker’s core function, with an effective process included to encourage and simplify such an action.

Using smart forms, via a mobile application, an employee can quickly complete and submit an incident report, which triggers an email escalation process sent to the appropriate department so they can deal with the problem immediately. This means supervisors and managers can have a live-view of any issues, failures or wastage with details electronically captured including photographic evidence where appropriate. A copy of the incident can also be sent to an online portal where it can be monitored and managed through its lifecycle while providing data for trend analysis via the management information generated.

These flexible smart forms can be configured for a wide range of uses including alerts, inspections, audits, requests, job acceptance and job completion. In particular, it is possible to implement an electronic compliance solution for health and safety, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COSHH hazardous substance procedures. These checks can replace existing manual processes to achieve immediate workplace compliance, while streamlining administration and saving money.

Typically, a paper-based solution is not only time consuming and costly to manage across multiple sites, but is easy to falsely or fraudulently complete. In contrast, a smart form registers the exact time it was completed and with signature capture shows which employee undertook the check. Furthermore, all the data is delivered to the online portal, so it is collected electronically in real-time without having to post hard copies and have someone collate manually.

The latest developments in remote workforce management is evolving beyond simply proof of attendance. It is providing the potential to enhance business performance and help overcome some of the operational challenges faced by companies in the field service marketplace in terms of revenue growth, customer satisfaction and compliance.



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