5 Tips to Help you Effectively Manage your Field Team

Manage your field team takes skill. You need to be able to prioritize, delegate, and communicate well. You also need to know when it’s time to step back and trust your team members to do what it is you hired them to do.

When your team is dispersed in the field, team management becomes even more challenging. You may have field workers that span the city, state, country, or even globe. Perhaps you have different time zones or communication logistics to contend with. Either way, you’re unable to rally your team together in one place, at one time. This makes it much harder to keep your workers motivated and engaged.

Below are five tips relating to best practices and helpful tools to help you navigate the challenges of field team management.

 1. Focus on deliverables.

When you’re managing an office team, you get to see your employees at work. Some, you may notice, spend far too much time chatting with colleagues at the water cooler. Meanwhile, you may notice others putting in hours of overtime in the boardroom and at their desks.

When you manage a field team, however, you can’t keep an eye on workers. As a result, you need to modify your benchmark. Instead of evaluating your workers based on the busyness you witness by eye, you need to focus on their deliverables. All that matters is that they achieve what you’ve tasked them with achieving.

 2. Trust your team.

As a team manager, you can’t be in multiple places at once, which means you can’t oversee all members of your team. This is good news. Many managers find it hard not to micromanage their team members. With a dispersed field team, however, micromanagement is impossible, which makes way for a better approach.

Say your company collects charitable donations by going door to door. Whether a field worker knocks on 10 or 100 doors an hour, you’ll never know. All you’ll ever know at the end of the day is how much they’ve collected. Subsequently, your measure of success becomes results – as it should be.

Rather than micromanage you team, you need to adopt an empowering style of management, which looks more like this:

  • Trust your team’s abilities and judgments (remember, you hired your field workers because of their skills and capabilities)
  • Give your field workers the freedom to make decisions without your authority
  • Encourage a two-way dialogue so that both you and your field workers can give and receive feedback

Coral Collect is one of many tools available that support a more empowering management style. It doesn’t only facilitate real-time communication. It allows you to avoid micromanagement by selecting only those elements that you genuinely require feedback on.

 3. Prioritize strong communication.

Maintaining communication is key regardless of industry. When you manage a field team, however, it’s especially important.

From obtaining updates on jobs, costs, and/or asset information to managing data collection and reporting, having the right tools in place is essential. It helps your employees do their jobs efficiently. It can also give your workers the chance to connect with one another remotely, which helps build morale.

 4. Keep an eye on the field.

There’s a big difference between micromanaging your field workers and keeping an eye on their progress. Invest in the systems that provide real-time visibility and you’ll be able to:

  • See which field workers are where, and when
  • Gain real-time access to data collected without having to bother your employees
  • Identify and prioritize tasks, and schedule them more easily
  • Organize resources more efficiently to deal with unexpected circumstances
  • Increase your operation’s efficiency and decrease risk

A transparent view of operations empowers teams to make informed and responsible decisions. Real-time visibility enables your business to plan, predict, and detect faults throughout operations. Better yet, it can help you prevent errors altogether.

 5. Use technology to your advantage.

There are many tools available that can help you keep your remote team connected and monitor your business operations. Take Slack, for example. Slack has numerous features that help teams communicate easily and efficiently, no matter where in the world they are. It also has organizational tools designed to help manage project flow.

There are also data collection tools like Coral Collect. Coral Collect includes a map that shows you and your field crews where they’ve been and where they have yet to go. It also lets supervisors monitor the progress of data collection so they can manage field operations from their desks in real time.

The tool you choose depends on your business’s unique needs. Find the one best suited to your team and watch your productivity improve.

Team productivity depends on team management.

Which of the above steps have you taken to overcome communication barriers, minimize inefficiencies, and keep your team productive and engaged? Which of these tips will you try next? If you need support managing your field team remotely and improving the efficiency of your data collection methods, learn more about Coral Collect today. 

The relevance of technology in business

Technology has changed the way the world is doing business. Always evolving, it enables us to work more efficiently than we did yesterday – provided we keep up.

Are you staying on top of the latest trends? If not, you should be. From sales and marketing to logistics, accounting, human resources, and more, technology is impacting every aspect of business. As your peers, clients, partners, and suppliers adopt the latest innovations, so too must you if you want to run a sustainable business.

To many, adopting new technologies feels overwhelming but it needn’t be. You don’t have to rebuild your entire company from the foundation up. All you need to do is figure out where and how technology could impact your organization for better.

Say, for example, your business could benefit from a new approach to managing your field operations – an approach that makes data collection faster, more efficient, and more convenient. Begin by exploring and adopting new technology-based data collection methods.

 Why is technology so essential in business?

Because it has a significant impact on operations at all levels. No matter how large or small your business may be, technology will reap you many benefits. It will help you deliver more of the goods and/or services your customers demand. Ultimately, that means growth in business, which leads to an increase in revenue.

Two of the most common types of technology that businesses across multiple industries rely on are customer management relationship software and project management software. These and similar platforms facilitate internal and external communication, which helps optimize production, inventory management, and record-keeping.

 Below, we discuss the role of technology as it pertains to:

  • Business communication
  • Management optimization
  • Efficient field operations
  • Improved security
  • Globalization

Business communication

Do you have employees working in the field? Without the support of technology, once they’ve completed a project they need to return to the office in order to pick up the next. With the right software, however, this isn’t the case. Your workers can access all of their tasks from their mobile devices – while still in the field.

Communication platforms like Slack make it easy for your field and remote workers to stay connected to your office at all times. This level of connection promotes greater efficiency, productivity, and problem-solving.

 Management optimization

No matter what business sector you’re in or what needs your goods or service meet, technology helps you optimize management and production. It also levels the playing field. Thanks to evolving solutions like low-cost SAAS software, for example, small businesses can now compete with large organizations in terms of operational efficiency.

 Efficient field operations

Technology improves efficiency by helping you reduce or eliminate errors, avoid duplication, minimize workflow delays, and speed up processes through the automation of certain tasks. With respect to inventory and reporting, it gives you more control over your data collection methods and management processes.

 Improved security

Cyberattacks are on the rise.  Security isn’t just important; it’s critical. Keep your data safe and your organization will have less exposure to ransomware attacks, supply chain attacks, and phishing attacks, among other threats.

These and other emerging technology-based security solutions hold the key to data loss prevention:

  • Hardware authentication
  • User-behaviour analytics
  • Encryption and tokenization
  • Artificial intelligence
  • The cloud

Globalization

Technology has eliminated the borders and boundaries of yesteryear, enabling businesses to more easily and seamlessly expand their reach into global markets.

Technology-enabled innovation has spurred globalization through the growth of e-commerce. The high speed of communication has enabled real-time collaboration, supporting the growth of  international trade. App stores now make solutions like Coral Collect’s data collection tools readily available worldwide, levelling the business playing field.

The labor market is changing.

At the forefront of that change is technology. While it does pose certain threats, as discussed in the security section above, the benefits far outweigh the risks.How and where could you and your employees better leverage technology to boost productivity and increase your competitive advantage? If data collection and management is one area that could benefit from greater efficiency, learn more about Coral Collect.