By Dexter Duncan
With plethora of low cost “smart” devices, productivity of field workers is expected to improve dramatically. Instead of paper-based forms or relying on office time to update reports or enter basic information, design your systems to take full advantage of the smartphone, ipad or tablet. How do you ensure your field staff are more productive? Some think that simply enabling their existing applications to work on remote devices is all that is needed. This is fine for back-office workers and those that just need e-mail, but for filling out forms and other reporting activity, you end up with a cluttered, unusable interface that few people use. YUCK!
It is better to focus on key operational (e.g. daily) tasks and develop a friendly, easy to use, front-end screen (i.e. masking all the complexity), than to extend existing systems to work “as is”. Instead of working directly with system(s) or complicated database(s), field workers need simple and easy screens to work with. Naturally, your field staff are experts in delivery of services and keeping clients happy. They are not experts (nor should you expect them to be) in computers, CRM or specialty software. Making selections as intuitive as possible typically involve:
– Limit selection choices that are made regularly, with daily items towards top (e.g. remove all items not used at all.)
– Put big buttons that anyone can read (ensure design is optimised for small screen devices.)
– Put infrequent choices on separate pages where possible
The first example (above) was designed for an iPAD or tablet. It is good overall with big buttons and limited choice. It serves as a main menu with access to rosters, client search, timesheet entry, procedures and medication schedules, which are all examples of daily activity. If we follow the design principles, “my profile” and the “application for leave” could easily be put on another page since these are only occasionally needed
The second example (above) is the medication schedule the remote worker must complete for the day. It fits all the design criteria with big buttons and limiting choice to the essential information related to client medication. At a click of a button, you can clearly see what James, Henry, Elizabeth and Charles should be taking for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. If any of the medications are refused, you can register that by clicking into the client’s box. For example, by clicking onto James’ box, you get another intuitive screen that allows your staff to register when medication is refused.
Designing your screens to focus on daily operational activity, using big friendly buttons, removing excess clutter and putting infrequent activity on separate pages are a great prescription to ensure productivity of your “out of the office” staff.
For assistance with making your remote workforce productive or for more information on how we can help move away from multiple paper-based systems, contact one of our consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org