What Are Workforce Apps?
A Definition of Workforce Apps
Workforce applications (apps) allow your employees, especially remote workers and mobile workers, to access your organization’s systems, such as time and attendance, scheduling, and shift management. Workforce apps are becoming more popular and are growing in demand, as millennials enter the workforce and expect to have access to technology for their work lives, just as they do for their personal lives.
Workforce Apps for Mobile Workforce Management
We are firmly entrenched in the age of technology and remote workers, so employees use smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices more than ever before. Organizations stay connected to their mobile workforce and remote workers, in particular, with workforce apps and mobile devices. This means that workforce apps have an important place in companies’ mobile workforce management strategies and policies.
Types of Workforce Apps
Enterprise business applications and workforce apps are a growing trend, especially when it comes to managing a mobile workforce. There are several types of workforce apps available today, and some organizations are creating their own apps and their own enterprise app stores for their employees. Some of the more popular types of workforce apps include…
- Mobile apps for field service – These workforce apps give mobile field service workers complete access to information from back-office systems in any environment, whether they are offline or online
- Location based apps – These workforce applications gather the real-time location of field resources and enables organizations to make better decisions in terms of scheduling and services optimization, plus give early warnings for late arrivals and other related scheduling issues that affect the decision-making process
- Parts management apps – These workforce apps help you to manage the parts that field engineers and service workers carry in their vehicles, plus they help those workers track the parts needed for assignments and which parts they actually used while on assignment
- Time and Attendance – These workforce apps provide timesheet capabilities with features that include logging activities and work throughout the day
BYOD and Workforce Apps
One decision your organization will have to make when implementing workforce apps is whether to institute a bring your own device (BYOD) program. Gartner predicts that 50% of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work by 2017. In fact, 38% of companies plan to stop providing devices to workers by 2016. There are several benefits of BYOD programs, including “creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs,” according to David Willis, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst.
BYOD naturally drives workforce app adoption in the workplace, as employees are able to use their own devices, with which they are most familiar and comfortable. Workforce apps that are user friendly and easy to navigate, especially those that include time sheets, site check-in/check-out, and self-service HR portals, are readily adopted by employees. Plus, employees reportedly are happier with a mobile work style, as 65% enjoy increased flexibility, 62% saw increased productivity, and 55% saw a better work/life balance.
The Benefits of Mobile Workforce Apps
As the workday becomes less defined and workers see the lines between work and personal life being blurred, workforce apps become a critical component of organizations. They allow for collaboration and communication from anywhere at any time, and they keep workers connected to the organization. That’s why, according to a recent Apperian survey, more than 70% of respondents are planning to equip more than 1,000 users with mobile apps. In the next two years, 1/3 of respondents will deploy mobile apps to more than 5,000 users.
Driving Workforce and Mobile App Adoption
In his CIO article on mobile app adoption, Tom Kaneshige reports, “nearly 80% of mobile apps are abandoned after their first use.” One way to drive app adoption is to market “to the employee user base before, during, and after its launch.” Enterprise app adoption is far more successful when social media efforts and other marketing efforts are made to get employees excited about using the apps and to help them understand the benefits of using workforce apps.