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Managing work hours for a mobile workforce


Accurate accounting of work hours is the bedrock of fair compensation, so both employers and workers have a vested interest in keeping the tally correct. This may not be too hard to achieve for companies that are physically located in a single office, but those that utilize highly mobile workforce might have a more difficult time trying to measure the hours for out-of-office personnel. The management simply can’t exert direct control over mobile workers, which can often lead to misreporting and might affect performance in a negative way.

The logistics industry is a prime example of this set of circumstances – the drivers typically spend days on the road before they return to the home base. That’s why companies active in this field often need some tune-ups before they come up with a workable workforce management plan. This guideline can significantly shorten the process and allow for more efficient deployment of available human resources, as well as a prevention of incidents related to fatigue or reduced ability to react to dangerous situations:

Define strict rules and enforce them consistently

In complex systems, there is a need for clarity and ambiguity. Drivers need to know exactly how work and rest hours should be accounted, so training plays an essential role here. In Canada, drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. They may drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.  A good rulebook should be simple enough to memorize without too much effort, yet exhaustive enough to eliminate any grey areas. Any exceptions must be hard-coded into the rules, as changes implemented on ad-hoc basis are certain to cause complications down the line and provide fertile grounds for internal divisions.

Use a mobile solution to facilitate remote check-in

Due to challenging nature of their work, transportation companies are among the most enthusiastic adopters of digital workforce management solutions. Software tools from this group enable drivers to check into the system regardless of their physical location, using nothing but their smartphones. Such an easy and inexpensive solution brings a big advantage in this business, while its adoption doesn’t require too serious disruption of existing procedures. This frees the driver from the need to record the times manually while allowing the management full insight into the statistics in real time. Precise reporting also provides a good foundation for making more realistic and less challenging schedules for each standard route, which is another reason for the drivers to buy into the program. By using the same HR solution as all other workers, the drivers are more likely to feel like a part of the group.

Ensure that drivers are getting enough rest

Like with any other advanced system, it’s crucial to get the employees to use mobile time and attendance software willingly. For maximum accuracy, it’s necessary to motivate drivers to be diligent about time keeping and to report any irregularities promptly. Setting up alarms and notifications is fairly easy with a modern time and attendance system, so that drivers may be reminded when the moment for taking a break approaches. Being able to see daily or weekly total at a glance might help drivers overcome the need to complete the journey as fast as possible and assume a more responsible attitude towards their own safety and respect for regulations. Transparency also affects expectations, so drivers won’t have to rush to meet too short deadlines or feel pressured to get behind the wheel without sufficient recuperation from previous tasks.

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