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June 7, 2022

The key to organizing a field service team


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Tired of paperwork?

The key to organizing a field service team

Are you a field service business owner tired of managing projects, clients, inventory, and more, all while having a disorganized team? Then you’ve come to the right place. 

It can be frustrating trying to juggle multiple tasks and deal with teams that work without a fool-proof process across job sites. As a business owner, you want to be dealing with more important jobs than tracking where each employee is if they’re on the clock if, if they’ve taken all of the tools with them, etc. 

That’s why we’ve compiled 9 tips for you to organize your field service team. Feel free to use one, two, or all 9! 

How to organize your field service team better

Independent workers don’t need to be synced - teams do

Different starting times and locations mean that you have a bunch of employees who work for you. One start time and location means you have a crew. This is the most important distinction you need to make when organizing your field service team. Teams that work on-site are the ones that need to be in sync. People who work in the office in departments like marketing or customer service don’t necessarily have to be constantly in check with one another. This is why the first step in organizing your field service teams is understanding and making it clear that every team member has to put in the effort, contribute equally and meet at the same time.

Use a time tracking tool

Make sure all working hours are tracked as accurately as possible. You won’t always be able to monitor your team (or more), so knowing when each team member is clocked in and out is of utmost importance for your business. You need to have accurate data for payroll, forecasts, project planning, and cost estimation. 

Tracking time doesn’t have to stop at field service teams. It’s a great tool to add to your entire workforce and track hours for every single employee. For some of your non-field workers, you may decide that flexibility makes for happier employees, and that may be better for you in the long run. Try out Atto, which will make sure that all of your hours are accurately and easily tracked (with many other great features as well).

Have all team members meet at the headquarters at the start of every shift

Make everyone in a team meeting at the shop first thing in the morning. If your employees are coming in at random times during the morning, then not only will your day be disrupted multiple times, but you will also have trouble getting everyone on the same page before teams have to leave for a job. Set a time that everyone needs to abide by - 6:30 am, 7 am, 8 am, whatever works for you. This way, all teams will know who is doing what, and you’re able to prepare better for the day and have your daily safety talk with everyone together.

Use one or two vehicles to transport all team members to a job site

Have all company vehicles ready at your headquarters. No one takes a personal vehicle to the job site unless they are leaving early. This way, the job site doesn’t end up looking like a parking lot and everyone has all the tools they need. You won’t have to make random trips to the job site because your team forgot some hammers! Everyone meets at the headquarters at the start of their shift and uses one or two (depending on team size) to the job location.

Set the record straight about your expectations

One thing that may be overlooked by business owners is making your expectations clear to your employees. You may think that they know what you want, but in many cases, they will continue doing what they think is best. This doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, it just means that this doesn’t work for your company. So have a team meeting where you lay out all of your expectations - like coming in at a specific time, using a company vehicle to drive to a job site, using a time tracking software, etc. Having everyone on board and aware of the rules will make organizing your field service teams way easier.

Be transparent 

Another overlooked tip is being transparent about why you’re deciding on a particular rule. Make sure, to be honest and positive, all while explaining the benefits of why you’re bringing in a new vibe to the company. This is especially true for incorporating a time tracking tool into your workforce - you don’t want your employees to feel like you’re micromanaging them or that you will be using their data for purposes other than the ones you state.

Delegate tasks and responsibilities - and make it apparent

Everyone should know what their role is and what their responsibilities are to the team and company. This way, you avoid people slacking off, being bored, or not knowing what to do. For example, have one team member take the lead and start taking inventory before rolling up, and then the other members of the crew restock the truck that same afternoon when they return to the headquarters. When everyone comes into work in the morning, they can pile in the warm truck, sip their coffee, and enjoy the paid drive to work.

For large companies, create a pick-up schedule

If you have multiple employees that you need to organize and have come in at the same time before a shift starts, consider adding company transportation. You can even buy a school bus and use it as a work vehicle. Now you’ve just solved your problem of employees wanting to drive to the work-site directly with their private vehicles. You have easy large crew transportation and everyone can leave their personal vehicles at the headquarters.

Have all team members start lunch at the same time

Our last tip is to have everyone start their lunch at the same time. Now, of course, no business owner wants to strictly limit when people eat, but you can communicate this as an organizational issue. Decide on a break time and length, and have everyone stick to it. This way you won’t have anyone standing alone, two team members talking to one another, or someone working on something all on their own because everyone is taking different break schedules. Of course, if there are emergencies or special cases then you can work around these, but the rule remains the same - everyone starts work at the same time, has lunch at the same time and ends their shift at the same time. 

Whichever of the above tips you decide to begin incorporating into your company culture, make sure to have a positive attitude towards it. Don’t let your staff feel micromanaged, belittled or unsatisfied. And always have an open door to hear out suggestions, worries or complaints. You’re working towards a more organized workforce, and that benefits everyone - so make sure to communicate that!

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