Distributed Workforce Management and Communication

Keep your workforce informed, engaged, productive (and safe)

Communication is a key element to engaging a distributed workforce. According to Gallup, a leading global research company, employee engagement in the U.S. is at a 11-year low, as 4.8 million fewer employees are engaged in early 2024. 

That number is in stark contrast to data from the year before. By the end of 2023, 33% of U.S. employees overall were highly engaged, meaning they were highly involved and enthusiastic about their work and workplaces, reads a Gallup report.

Employee engagement trends are related to important performance outcomes that are crucial to organisational leaders, most notably, productivity, employee retention, customer service, safety incidents, quality of work and profitability.

These trends are relevant to employers with a distributed workforce, as the lines of communication become more complicated when employees are spread across multiple locations. And, keeping up with your staff’s individual questions – such as time off accrual balances –  adds to the difficulty. However, these complexities can be lessened with specific strategies and solutions geared towards employees through mobile communications and support solutions.

Communicating using mobile technology

Mobile technology can help support quick, reliable and secure methods of reaching your distributed workforce across multiple locations. When communicating professionally, though, there are considerations to keep in mind on how you’re communicating to those in the field. 

  • One-way communications: these can act similar to notifications, and they don’t require a response, but are effective in communicating process changes or announcements
  • Responsive communications: messages meant to elicit a response
  • Delivery confirmations: a message that can notify the sender of receipt or read status
  • Quick-access messages: standardised communication types (like texts or push notifications) that focus on speed and efficiency
  • Message targeting: the ability to send messages to individuals or small groups (by location) depending on the message you’re communicating 
  • Employee self-service portals: a hub of information that can be updated by administration and accessed by field workers independently

These communication tactics can be used independently or together, depending on your specific business needs.

How to increase team productivity using communication 

One of the best ways to increase productivity is through feedback. By giving employees access to data collected through quality assurance tools (like checkpoints, audits or inspections) they can see how the services they are performing on location are rated. 

With actionable feedback, adjustments can be made to improve or streamline the work they are doing to achieve even better results. If you have correlating employee benefits programmes related to performance, this is a great strategy to improve employee productivity. 

“Work orders, safety issues or updates – whatever we need to communicate to our employees, we can do through a mobile app,” said Greg Springall, Menzies Chief Executive Officer. “It eliminates the need for contract managers to manually track down a cleaner onsite. That’s especially important in the instance where an emergency clean is warranted, for example. The knowledge that we’re doing everything we can to shorten the time it takes to resolve an issue makes all the difference for our customers.”

Read how Menzies is communicating with their mobile workforce in this case study.

Distributed workforce communication: An illustrated look

How can mobile tools help support your communication strategies? Take a look:

distributed workforce

Improving workplace safety in the field

Often, your distributed teams are operating as a lone-worker or in a small team by location. Technology can help improve safety measures by providing quick methods to signal distress or safety automations. 

Through automated configurations, you can keep your workforce connected to their supervisors or control rooms, capture photos and locations of incidents and issues, and trigger response protocols that alert response teams. 

If you choose, you can even include client stakeholders in your communication process. This will help keep them updated on how incidents and issues are being resolved on their sites.

Communication tools are evolving: Stay in-the-know

As technology changes, the way you implement it across your teams should, too. To keep learning additional ways to communicate with your distributed workforce, speak with our team about your communication needs.