2020 was a tipping point for industries worldwide. As the country went into national lockdown in March, the UK government called for everyone to work from home where they could. Then, as restrictions eased in July, people were encouraged to return to work to kick start the economy by commuting back into city centres. But, with a second wave on the horizon, the government is once again calling people to work from home.

It’s plain to see that without a robust system in place to help you adapt to these shifts, company structures could be at risk of falling apart completely. We take a look at just how far the industry has come and what opportunities lie ahead when it comes to improving the way that we work.

Traditional job management in FM

Traditionally job management in the Facilities sector involved lots of paperwork and phone calls. Paper is usually cheap and easy to distribute, but the costs for printers, ink, servicing and storage can add up. There’s also the time spent looking for lost job sheets and chasing clients and engineers for lost information –  costing companies valuable time.

Richard Harris, CEO of Okappy argues: “Traditional job management systems are costly for users; the systems are often very time consuming which means disputes can take a long time to resolve; information provided by paper job sheets can be unintelligible and out of step with modern internet society.”

Digital transformation

Queue the paperless workplace. Digital systems have been around for a while now. In an increasingly digitised world, there is no need to continue managing jobs with these old and inefficient paper-based processes. When it comes to software, there’s a plethora of options out there – all with varying features on the market that can help companies manage the workforce.

The challenge

The problem of duplication still proves problematic when it comes to dealing with subcontractors, as each company will have a different software. Clients have a growing expectation that the services will be delivered not only digitally but in real-time; putting more pressure on companies to further streamline their processes.

So, how can we further streamline to make sure the FM industry is in the very best position to adapt and work efficiently in the months to come?

The new way of working

While many workforce management softwares work well within a company, communication difficulties still remain when it comes to a company’s customers and subcontractors. Applying a Market Network model to this problem is one very viable solution.

A Market Network is a software-as-a-service tool which allows businesses to create a profile, connect with customers and subcontractors and manage their workflow; not just within their organisation but as they interact with other companies.

Businesses using Market Networks for job management can receive jobs from customers on an online platform as well as add jobs for their employees and subcontractors. Accessible by computer and handheld devices, any jobs put through these systems can be viewed and updated in real time, meaning no duplication of information or having to chase up workers for reports.

Users can also communicate with each other using the integrated instant-messaging system. Connecting in this way helps to ensure that messages are easily retrievable and not lost between emails, texts and forgotten phone calls.

What’s the future for workforce management?

Lockdown has given people time to consider the things they miss by working virtually, especially a lack of ad hoc conversations. The physical office provides a sense of belonging and identity for many people. Although remote working is key to being able to adapt to future challenges, it should not be at the expense of employee well being. However, using a more streamlined system like a market network allows for people to stay connected in a more reliable way, whilst also promoting flexibility and a healthier work-life balance.

Kale Grieve, director at Liquid and Gas Ltd, now use Okappy’s market network and told us how it has also improved his well being.
“Prior to using Okappy’s market network, there was no way I could take time off for a holiday.” He went to say, “When I was off, the whole company was off. When I did take some time off, my phone wouldn’t stop asking for information regarding work and jobs – it was just non stop. But now I can leave that to others, as all the information is on the Okappy system.”

As our world and the workforce continue to rapidly evolve to uncertainties presented by Covid-19, it’s clear that we all need to be using efficient workforce management systems if we’re going to keep up – whether working remotely, in the office or a combination of both. Market Networks prove to provide a viable solution to keep employees, customers, contractors and subcontractors connected, whilst streamlining communications and freeing up valuable time.

Ready to make your life easier with Okappy? Check out our free trial or request a demo to see Okappy in action!

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