“Your workforce is your most valuable asset. The knowledge and skills they have represent the fuel that drives the engine of business - and you can leverage that knowledge.”--Harvey Mackay
In today's always-on, uber-connected society, businesses can't afford to close. And, why would you? With the advent of technology, you can hire a team of mobile-remote personnel who can work around the clock for you, whether it be customer service, sales or IT. However, there can be some issues around management. Since the staff is not in-house, how do you monitor their performance without having to micro-manage? The good news is there are multiple options and tools for you to use.
Implement a CRM system
The first thing you want to do is to implement a company-wide CRM system that your workforce can have access to wherever they are. Make it mandatory that they update the system with their results on whatever time frame you insist. It could be daily, weekly or bi-weekly depending on the type of work they do. Before hiring them, let them know this is a mandatory part of the job. This way there is no confusion. With a CRM system, you don't have to worry about managing a bevy of mobile staff through email and instant messages. Can you imagine having to pore through hundreds of emails a day just to figure out how your personnel is performing? If you have them update their status, all you have to do is to look up their profile to determine next steps with their current work load.
Support connected devices
Our laptops, smartphones and tablets allow us to take our work anywhere. This is a good thing for businesses, especially if you only need or can afford help on a part-time basis. Allow your employees to bring their own device (BYOD) or choose a device that you offer (CYOD). There are benefits and disadvantages to both. Employees seem to like the BYOD option the best because they don't need to carry around additional equipment they don't like using. The caveat is with security, especially if they are accessing sensitive company data. On the other hand, there are a variety of cloud software solutions that protect your company data on the cloud as opposed to per device, that way you have less worry over security breaches.
With CYOD, you give your employees a selection of approved company devices. This lets you have more control over what types of devices they use for work. It also helps to enable them to keep work life and personal life separate. Of course, more than likely, you will have to foot the cost for the devices since you are giving them limited options. So, keep that in mind when making your decision.
Implement a device security policy
If your mobile workforce does have to access vulnerable company information, you need to make security a priority. Either have your IT team set up a system of security protocols for logging in and out of the company systems, or make sure all devices are installed with your preferred security features. In addition, have your employees change their passwords on a regular basis, you can make this mandatory. Of course, there isn't a 100 percent guarantee your data still will not incur a breach, but it is better to start on a proactive, rather than reactive path.
What if you employ a fleet of drivers?
Certainly if you have a business that requires maintaining a fleet of drivers, you should install GPS monitoring and tracking devices into the vehicles. It can be too easy for your staff to use the vehicles for personal and not work reasons. A GPS tracking system is just smart business. You want to know that your assignments are being performed on time and in the most cost-effective way possible. Furthermore, you want to know that they are following highway laws and speed limits, this affects your company reputation. And, you want to be made immediately aware of any maintenance issues that need to be addressed.
If you have salespeople, you might want to track how many client touches they have made throughout the day or even phone calls. This is difficult to do when they work remotely. Certainly, there are some star sales people who have the right set of clients where they don't need to pound the phones or social media all day long to produce a profit. But, this is an exception and not the average. So, you can give them devices to use specifically for client-reaching efforts. You might even install applications to monitor their client-based social media use, whether it be through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. The point is you have to know how they are spending their time on your company's budget.
Having a mobile/remote workforce is a boon because you don't have to operate a large office space just to have the staff you need. It becomes even better when you use and implement the right tools for