Even in the most demanding preventative maintenance positions, companies that employ a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy will inevitably face the question of whether a device is helping or hurting productivity. A proactive approach to outlining what is and isn't acceptable, as well as expected usage, can help guide not only your employees but your organization through the potential obstacles of BYOD out in the field and ensure you come out ahead. While banning some potentially disruptive devices entirely may seem like a good idea in the short term, in reality, "harnessing" them with some carefully-crafted rules can help with issues such as field service scheduling challenges.
Why control and guide rather than prohibit?
Your employees already own incredibly powerful and versatile tools that they are familiar with. This means your company doesn't necessarily have to purchase similar tools, making it easier for employees to carry around one simple device.
By allowing your employees access to communication with their families and some of the non-distracting apps they enjoy using, it builds goodwill between workforce management and field employees, focusing on field service optimization.
Consumer electronics are typically refreshed or upgraded by their users. This means that personal devices are more likely to be "current" than a static company asset piece.
Where: Tracking Employees
GPS positioning is no longer confined to the realm of industrial electronics. Most cell phones, tablets and laptops now offer tracking either automatically or as a function that can be toggled off and on.
Policy Idea: Encourage or require your employees to toggle the GPS tracking capability of their devices and permit company access to the data during the work day through approved applications. Not only will this save valuable asset dollars on GPS-specific equipment, it strikes a happy medium by trading access to personal devices during work hours for a useful benefit to your company. Naturally, it will still be necessary to implement a blacklist of non-approved apps for guidance.
When: Using BYOD for Scheduling
In addition to pinpointing and tracking locations for employees in the field, BYOD companies enjoy unprecedented access to scheduling efforts. The two-way, visual-rich communication offered by cellular grid-connected personal electronics allow preventative maintenance employees in the field to see schedules, adjust availability and notify fellow employees of schedule changes in moments, enahancing field service optimization.
Policy Idea: Field service management teams should coordinate with their employees to either set up specific times to review schedule updates or else use programs or apps that display "push" notifications for in-the-moment adjustment broadcasts.
Why: BYOD for Enterprise Mobility
Even in field, work that is centered around physical labor, data accessibility and cloud-based structure is a hallmark of modern, progressive companies. With BYOD policies, employees can input important information - readouts, problem areas, necessary replacement parts - to databases that dispatch employees can then address and log. Tapping into the power of your employees' mobile devices also ensures powerful enterprise mobility.
Policy Idea: Liabilities and benefits can only be separated from one another with careful study, which is why a progressive business needs to frequently check in with their employees and understand the ways in which they use their own mobile devices for field service optimization. This will not only flag problem apps, sites and programs, it will highlight useful ones that provide the best company returns for employee engagement and use.
Ask employees for feedback and request justification for certain apps that may be "on the fence" for approval or denial.
Your company's employees will continue to own, upgrade and operate their own mobile devices, which is why setting up expectations and guidelines ahead of time is the best course of action for mobile workforce management. As devices grow more powerful and increase their capability, a smart business can tie their own upward mobility to this momentum, resulting in a tech-savvy environment that quality employees will thrive in.
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