For companies whose workers spend a lot of time in the field, on the road or simply working from home, managing day-to-day operations can be a complicated and inefficient process. How do you communicate with employees in multiple locations, and how do they access important information? And how do you know if they’re staying on task?
Here’s how the right technology can make it easier to manage remote workers and increase productivity in the main office.
If you work in an industry where people work collaboratively on projects, a lot of efficiency is lost when workers are trying to collaborate on a single project from multiple locations. But SharePoint, a component of the Microsoft Office Suite, can simplify such projects.
Accessible via smartphone and other mobile devices, SharePoint offers many helpful features, particularly with regard to document management. Document libraries can be configured so that each person on a project must “check out” a document before making changes, ensuring other collaborators won’t be making changes at the same time. It’s a much more efficient way of working than emailing versions of a document back and forth between all parties.
SharePoint can also be integrated with other systems to provide easy access to information. For example, NPL Construction Company used SharePoint in conjunction with its payroll software to give its 4,000 employees across the country access to their payroll information.
Before using SharePoint for this purpose, NPL had been spending $130,000 per year to print and mail pay stubs, and its human resources team was often bogged down in requests for reissued pay stubs and W-2s. NPL cut its costs and improved productivity by moving to a paperless system.
Trucking companies present some industry-specific challenges for managers. Drivers are on the road often, so it’s hard to keep track of which vehicles are due for maintenance. And managers must make sure drivers are following federal regulations that mandate maximum allowable driving time and obeying all other applicable state and local laws while on the road.
Omnitracs Fleet Management offers several solutions for these problems, including an electronic on-board recording system that allows drivers to log their hours digitally, which managers can access remotely. Analytics software monitors driver behavior, allowing for the comparison of individual events – such as lane departures – with the industry average. And vehicle inspection reports can be stored electronically, rather than on paper, with a function that alerts management any time a vehicle inspection on the road turns up a problem.
Expense Report Application
Some companies have a lot of traveling employees, bookkeepers or human resources workers who spend a lot of time processing expense reports. Typically, employees hand receipts over to the appropriate person, who then goes through a number of steps – photocopying, stapling and filing – before the expense report is complete.
The ABUKAI Expenses application simplifies that process and speeds up reimbursement. Employees use their smartphones to snap a picture of their receipt, click the “submit” button, and receive a digital expense report within 24 hours. Users can define what format they prefer for expense reports. Workers can also request mileage reimbursement with ABUKAI.
When companies want to increase efficiency or productivity, they can find a wide range of software and applications that reduce the amount of time needed to complete certain tasks. Any resource that reduces operational inefficiency should be worth the investment.