The Basics of a Distributed WorkforceWhat’s a distributed workforce? It’s a collection of workers without a centralized work space. There’s no primary office, warehouse, or location where your employees go every day to work.
This may get you to think about remote working—which is, in fact, part of a distributed workforce—but it also includes employees who mainly travel for work, along with freelancers, contractors, and those who telecommute.
However, all of those types of workers are simply freelancers or remote workers, until they’re tied together under one organization, for the purpose of collaboration. Therefore, a distributed workforce is a collection of locationally-separated people who all work toward the same goal, or for the same company.
With a workforce that’s spread out (whether that’s throughout multiple cities in the same country or around the globe) you must somehow manage the entire operation. The most effective way to manage a distributed workforce is with no-code apps and software solutions, rather than less organized tools like email, phone calls, and spreadsheets.
How to Manage a Distributed Workforce with a Mobile AppThe ideal situation when managing a distributed workforce is to utilize a small set of cloud-based, no-code apps that offer different features and potentially integrate with other business tools. This way, you’re able to complete tasks no matter where you are, connect with workers no matter where they are, and establish a simple communication process on mobile devices. Luckily, it’s easy to create these types of apps with iBuildApp.
Here are some of the best apps you can make to help manage a distributed workforce:
Business/Office Portal AppsA business portal app keeps all employees in a company connected through a dedicated hub. Businesses of all sizes can offer a homepage with links to staff profiles, projects, and resources.
This type of app is also essential for sharing company news, and offering forms for employees to fill out requests for supplies or event tickets. Managing a distributed workforce with a mobile app becomes significantly easier when employees have a place to turn for downloading documentation, understanding company events, and seeing current projects.
Inventory and Order Management AppsWith a mobile app, business owners can help their distributed workforce view and keep track of stock barcodes from the palm of their hand, while also syncing inventory information back to other workers.
It’s also possible to keep your entire distributed workforce in the loop with an order management app. From product pickers to sales reps, an order management app assists everyone who needs to see when orders come in and how they’re being handled.
Sales Reporting AppsIf your business has a distributed sales team, there’s no better way to manage their performance reports than with a mobile app. Track leads by client names, and use the app as a customer relationship management center, with contact information about each potential lead, and areas to fill in custom information about every contact you have with the lead.
Take your sales operation a step further by generating powerful reports inside your app. You can generate monthly sales data and performance reports by product type, sales associate, or timeframe. Business owners are not only able to keep an eye on their distributed workforce, but the workers can utilize the app to check in on their own performance.
Employee and HR AppsMobile apps for employees (and human resources teams) go a long way to show your distributed workforce that you’re ready to accept any complaints and provide areas for them to request information.
For instance, you can quickly put a page on your mobile app for employees to report incidents.
It’s also nice to include pages for marketing requests or to contact someone directly within the company. Mobile app directories work rather well for distributed workforces since all of that information gets stored on a mobile app that anyone in the company can access with a few clicks on their phone.
Online Store AppsHaving a mobile online store is essential for managing a distributed workforce, since you can give app access to everyone involved in the operation, from sales reps to customer support workers, and the marketing department to fulfillment specialists.
Quote, Booking, and Appointment Scheduling AppsLet’s say you manage a team of workers, yet all of them are either located in different areas or on-the-move every day. In that case, you can manage your distributed workforce with a mobile app that provides appointment scheduling for everyone on the team. It works well, for example, to have an Appointments page on a real estate mobile app.
You might also consider a booking or appointments page on a mobile app for your yoga studio, gym, or personal training business.
And to make things even more impressive, you don’t have to only rely on standard booking forms, because iBuildApp integrates with automated scheduling tools like Acuity Scheduling. This enables you to list a calendar of available scheduling times on the app; customers book appointments from the app, and you get notified when it happens. There’s no more need for phone calls or emails just to make an appointment.
Project and Resource Management AppsMany businesses work on multiple projects that require check-ins from specific parties. It’s wise to compile all project information on a mobile app to ensure everyone understands what’s going on. Apps like these are crucial for managing a distributed workforce of web designers, developers, sales people, marketing professionals, or just about any type of employee.
You can add a list of all projects, incorporate timelines, and include project information that’s essential to getting the job done. You also might consider adding project resources (like documents or videos) for distributed workers to access no matter where they’re located. Not to mention, your mobile app could act as a type of centralized online storage, where someone uploads a document that’s easily accessible for everyone in the organization.
Benefits of Using a Mobile App to Manage a Distributed WorkforceYou may wonder, what are the benefits of using a mobile app to manage a distributed workforce? Can’t you just stick to the classic email and spreadsheet processing you’re already used to?
Email and Excel still have their places in the office, but not so much for managing the entirety of your distributed workforce.
Here are the main advantages of managing a distributed workforce with mobile apps:
- There are fewer workforce management costs, since you consolidate to simpler, cheaper apps that often only cost a small fee per month or year.
- You can integrate with all your business apps. Making an app in iBuildApp allows you to integrate with a wide range of apps with the Zapier connection. There are even specific integrations for tools like Google Maps, Acuity, and Facebook.
- All workers are connected. Everyone has a smartphone, so a mobile app ensures that your distributed workforce has access to things like scheduling, request forms, online documentation, and more.
- You receive real-time updates about your workforce and business. It’s nice to see where your inventory is located, or how long your sales team has spent on the phones each day – all of that is possible with in-app notifications.
- You get a custom interface without the complicated code. Managing your business is complicated enough; these distributed workforce management apps from iBuildApp make sure you don’t need to know anything about coding.