Field workers are the backbone of many operations. However, it can be challenging to keep them informed once they are dispersed to sites and out on jobs.
Outdated information or miscommunications can severely impact productivity and safety.
With the right technology, you can establish seamless real-time information sharing. Pushing timely alerts, updates and changing priorities to field staff throughout the day ensures they always have the latest data.
This article will explore methods and tools for robust real-time communication with your dispersed workforce.
The Downfalls of Delayed Information
Without prompt information sharing, field workers operate on outdated or incomplete knowledge.
This causes major problems, including:
- Arriving unprepared to sites and unable to complete work
- Wasting time on low-priority tasks or already-resolved issues
- Duplicating work that somebody else has already completed
- Using incorrect procedures, parts, or paperwork
- Misunderstanding safety hazards or operational changes
- Causing conflicts with customers due to poor coordination
- Damaging equipment or inventory due to a lack of alerts
Information gaps and lags also lead to frustrated, disconnected workers.
Employees want to succeed at their jobs, but more information is needed to ensure optimal performance.
Real-Time Communication Solutions
Thankfully, modern communication technology makes continuous field communication achievable for organizations.
Push notifications deliver timely updates directly to workers’ mobile devices. Alerts can share schedule changes, safety alerts, equipment issues, customer notes, and other operating information.
Push notifications are fast, targeted, and prompt users to take action.
However, they only provide quick blasts rather than ongoing exchanges. They work best alongside other tools.
Team Communication Apps
Team apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams allow groups to message, share files, and video chat in real-time. Field workers can join relevant channels to stay current.
Apps enable interactive conversations and are great for complex updates. However, workers must be able to check frequently to keep up with conversations.
Apps lack the targeting and urgency of push alerts.
Automatic Text Alerts
You can set up automated texts triggered by certain events like last-minute schedule changes, safety incidents, inventory issues etc. Texting reaches people quickly during the moment.
But automated texts are often conversational dead ends – workers cannot respond with questions. Texts also lack the structure of more robust platforms. They make sharing documents, work instructions, and other timely information difficult.
Field Service Management Software
Purpose-built field software centralizes all field data, including schedules, work orders, inventory, etc. Workers access the live system via mobile apps.
This provides comprehensive real-time visibility. However, workers may still need nudges to check in and get updated. Also, specialized software requires change management and training.
Communication Best Practices
To maximize success, consider these tips when establishing real-time information transfer to the field:
- Provide field staff with company-issued smartphones to standardize capabilities
- Structure communications to be skimmable “at a glance” for minimal disruption
- Make sure field teams understand their role in diligently checking for updates
- Have workers confirm receipt of key alerts to ensure understanding
- Train dispatchers to segment updates to relevant field workers’ roles
- Develop protocols for critical communications - who sends, confirms receipt etc.
- Poll workers periodically on what communication methods they prefer
- Incorporate mechanisms for field personnel also to share real-time information back
Case Study: Planiversity Field Management Software
Planiversity provides comprehensive field communication software tailored for managing dispersed workforces.
Key features include:
Task Management: Dispatchers can send work orders, checklists, and procedures directly to field worker devices. Workers have all info they need at their fingertips.
Document Distribution: Upload files such as manuals, schematics, and permits. Deliver documents instantly without paper shuffling.
Messaging: Workers and managers exchange messages with individuals or teams. Unlike texts, messages are captured within the platform.
Travel Management: Share worker travel plans, including routes, hotels, and mileage. Streamline approvals and expense tracking.
Alerts & Notifications: Send announcements, last-minute schedule changes, safety notices, and more.
Planiversity empowers field teams with easy access to information and facilitates instant communication in both directions.
Managers gain confidence that field personnel have whatever they need, whenever they need it – even as situations evolve and change.
To learn more about streamlining real-time information exchange with field workers, schedule a demo today.