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“They say you’re a born leader but there’s more to it than that. You learn from everyone you meet in your life.”

These wise words were recently shared with me by football legend Kevin Keegan. I am delighted to announce that he has become my mentor, and will be coaching me as part of his leadership programme.

Kevin, who became a BigChange ambassador last year, has a wealth of leadership knowledge: everything from motivating a team to inspiring extraordinary endeavours. When we sat down for our first coaching session, he explained the principles that have helped him become one of football’s all-time greats.

This gave me an idea. Why not capture some of these sessions so that we could share his insights with other leaders? This is how the Kevin Keegan Secrets of Leadership series was born. From September, I’ll share clips from our discussions, as he talks about the lessons he’s learned throughout his illustrious career. What Kevin doesn’t know about leadership isn’t worth knowing.

Next week, Kevin is talking about what makes a great leader. Natural aptitude is one thing, he says, but every leader must keep learning and developing if they are to reach their full potential.

“I learned this from my father at a young age,” he says. “He would say, ‘Son, go and learn from him now’ and would send me to work at a market stall in Doncaster.” You learn so much from environments where you deal with the general public, he explained.

My father also sent me to work at a market stall when I was young. It gives you an incredible foundation in sales, and also teaches soft skills like empathy. So many great leaders have started their careers from a market stall, from Matalan founder John Hargreaves to Michael Marks, who started Marks & Spencer.

Kevin says that he has always observed other leaders – both good and bad – in order to adapt his leadership style over the years. The big influences in his life were Ron Ashman, his first manager at Scunthorpe United. “His strength was communication,” he says. “Everyone knew where they stood. But he wasn’t great when you lost, so I learned not to be like that. ” Sir Alf Ramsay, the England manager who won the World Cup in 1966, also helped shape Kevin’s leadership style. “He had this air about him,” Kevin says. “Confidence without being arrogant. You felt so comfortable following him.”

Kevin got me thinking about the great leaders who have inspired me throughout the course of my career. People like Michael Dell, the technology entrepreneur, who is a great champion of intrapreneurship within Dell. He is one of the reasons I work so hard to encourage my BigChange colleagues to bring new ideas into the business and give them autonomy on projects.

Bill Shankly is another one of Kevin’s heroes. “He would say, ‘You are here for those people out there’. It made you think about being part of the community. Everyone comes into your life for a reason.”

To hear more from Kevin, take a look next week at the BigChange visitor website and please don’t forget to share a comment.

The full series starts in September

BigChange has released the first image from its exclusive nine part series ‘Secrets of Leadership with Kevin Keegan OBE’.

In the show, the former England manager sits down with BigChange founder Martin Port to discuss the similarities between running a great team and a great business.

Together the pair cover a whole host of topics: the importance of trust and transparency with your employees, the balance of growing talent vs recruiting talent, and how to manage the ‘disruptive geniuses’.

If you want to be the first to know when the series drops, submit your email here to be notified.

Modular building specialists MPB Installations (MPBI) has seen a boom in business since implementing the latest mobile workforce management technology from BigChange.


A few days ago, my sister-in-law and great friend Karen Harris posted a message on LinkedIn.

She wrote: “Feeling sad for my daughter. Straight A*s at GCSEs and school submitted A*A*A for A level grades. Exam board downgraded her to AAB so she has missed her uni places for computer science. Aren’t we meant to be encouraging women in tech? #womenintech #alevelresults”

A lot of youngsters are experiencing the fallout of the A-Level exam grades chaos right now. Even now the algorithm has been withdrawn and many have been awarded their predicted grades, some students may have missed out on a place at their top choice university. I feel a lot of sympathy and frustration on behalf of all those who feel they have been denied the education they have rightfully earned.

But I do also want to tell those people: all is not lost.

University isn’t the only way to a successful career, especially when you are studying a technical subject like computer science. You can go straight into industry and learn on the job instead. Arguably the skills you learn this way will be even more marketable and relevant to the modern world. If you still need the qualifications, your employer may even pay for you to do the degree part-time, or sponsor full-time study.

The Government’s recent Plan for Jobs pledge means that even more employers will be looking to create positions for smart young people. It will pay organisations £2,000 per apprentice and is introducing a bonus for businesses who hire apprentices aged 25 and over with a payment of £1,500.

The scheme will also subsidise six-month placements for young people on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, with the government covering 100pc of the national minimum wage for 25 hours a week.

At BigChange, we invest so much in our apprentices and young trainees that this support, while welcome, barely covers any of our costs. But we don’t create apprenticeships to access government funding. We do it because we need talented young people to help us innovate and grow. They bring energy, enthusiasm and a new perspective to the organisation.

We are hiring right now into our RoadCrew Customer Service, Onboarding and Technical teams. Young starters all begin their career in RoadCrew, so they can learn the business from the ground up, but for many that is just a launch pad to other areas of the business.

Over the years, we have seen both promising graduates and brilliant straight-out-of-schoolers rise through the ranks to management and even senior management. When I look at people like Ed Goodwill, who started in RoadCrew back in 2013 and became product manager two years ago, I see an incredibly driven individual who has become a seasoned member of the team. Or Jonathan Isaacs, who joined in a customer service onboarding role in 2016 and is now a product director, shaping our future product strategy. Also there is Kully, Simon & Serge in sales who have all benefited from working there way through the company from RoadCrew to Sales. RoadCrew have nurtured Danielle, Jake and Tom in accounts.

I have always been passionate about offering opportunities to young people, however inexperienced they might be. All I ask for is a good attitude and the willingness to learn and be a team player. Over the years, I have employed plenty of my children’s friends – even my youngest, Josh, now has a few friends working in BigChange. The great thing about raw talent is that you can develop them from the ground up, nurture their careers, and they live and breathe your values and culture.

Our BigChange University is here, and we always have places for talented students. Instead of paying to study computer science, marketing, software engineering, international business management, economics, data analytics, and many more, come to us. We’ll let you work virtually, pay you, and you’ll come out the other side with no student debt.

You can’t underestimate the power of education and a university degree but given the state of the world right now, it’s good to have options. I never went to university; I studied at the school of life. It worked out all right for me.

Powerful new functions in the latest update of JobWatch.

BigChange has released BigChange App v5.12, and it includes new features to improve efficiency by reducing time, travel and costs.

Users can now self-allocate jobs which don’t yet have an owner. So workers carrying out a job on-site can access on their mobile a list of other jobs that need to be done at the location.

JobWatch takes into account resource restrictions, such as location and skills, meaning only relevant jobs will be shown. This improvement ensures extra jobs are carried out efficiently on-site without wasting precious time and money with another unnecessary journey. No unallocated jobs at that site but time to spare? Search for other unallocated jobs in the vicinity.

Another key feature of the update is a ‘Save User Signature’ option. Anyone working with JobWatch can now save their signature in Settings and automatically add it to any documents at the push of a button.

This change improves efficiency and creates consistency across documentation.

Remember to update your JobWatch app, as only devices with 5.12 will be able to use the new functions.

See our help site for more information on these features.

Unscheduled jobs:

Resource signature:

Specialist vehicle company Bence has rolled out the latest mobile workforce management technology from BigChange.

Bence field service and workshop engineers have been equipped with rugged tablet devices as part of a complete management system for paperless working that is improving efficiency, productivity and customer service.

Bence design and build specialist vehicles and trailers that include everything from emergency vehicles to mobile units for MRI scanning, endoscopy, breast-screening, command and control and motorsport workshops. The Bristol-based company also provides transportation, servicing and rentals of units.

Bence field service engineers, who provide 24/7 rapid-response services nationwide, use JobWatch the 5 in 1 app that synchronises in real-time with cloud-based BigChange software for managing the entire operation from transportation, to installation, scheduled maintenance and emergency call out. Engineers in the Bence workshop have also been equipped with tablets and JobWatch.

The system is completely replacing paper records providing Bence with around the clock visibility of operations, from scheduled maintenance and refurbishment in the workshop to engineers servicing and fixing units on site. Onsite work is typically scheduled out of hours.

Conrad Stanley, Service Manager at Bence commented:

“Many of our vehicle and mobile units are deployed in critical work at the frontline so we have to maintain exceptional levels to minimise downtime.”

“Through BigChange we now have real-time, 24/7, visibility of our mobile operations and this has completely transformed the way we work and allowed us to provide a better, more dynamic service.”

With the outbreak of Coronavirus Bence saw a significant increase in demand from hospitals needing mobile units for undertaking screening and treatment in separate COVID-safe areas.

“It was fortunate we had BigChange up and running when the COVID-19 crisis hit – having a fully digital, paperless system made a lot easier coping with the surge in demand”.

Bence typically recalls their specialist vehicles and mobile units once a year for major servicing in the workshop. Onsite servicing is undertaken at between 8 and 12 week intervals, with generators serviced every 200 hours.

As a complete end-to-end system BigChange incorporate job scheduling, route planning, vehicle tracking and comprehensive management reporting with the mobile app providing a complete job management tool. For engineers, the JobWatch app has replaced their paper time-sheets, job- sheets and inspection reports and the devices offer navigation and image capture.

Bence find the tracking really useful giving visibility on where engineers are so they no longer need to be called on route. It means that customers can be informed on the expected arrival time of their engineer.

Stanley concluded:

“That’s a really good addition to customer service especially as we are in such a critical, time sensitive area. The other big benefit is that we can dynamically schedule jobs during the day to optimise their time and do extra jobs; something that was impossible before”.

“We also really like the photo-capture allowing engineers to record their work and issues such as damage to units so we can assess what work and parts are required.”
BigChange Bence vehicle

Although official government COVID restrictions ended on 19 July in the UK, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) announced that its pandemic safety guidance would remain in place for construction firms that wish to maintain them as a means of protecting their workers. The CLC commented:

“Whilst it would be inappropriate for the CLC to seek to impose on the industry any requirements over and above those set out by the Government, we recognise that businesses across the supply chain have welcomed the consistency that the CLC guidance has provided.”

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the guidance and share how you can continue to keep your employees healthy and safe.

Construction Industry COVID Guidance

According to research, 90% of UK construction firms reported a reduction in revenue due to the pandemic, making it one of the worst affected industries. Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to be widespread across the country and will need to be managed for some time. As such, it’s more critical than ever to ensure your employees are healthy and able to complete projects. 

Whilst official restrictions are no longer in place, the Construction Leadership Council has still made their pre-‘freedom day’ guidance available for construction firms that want to continue protecting their workforce. 

Here are some workplace measures you may want to consider:

1. When to Go to Work

The Construction Leadership Council recommends that, if employees can’t work from home, they should socially distance themselves from others in the workplace. In some cases, your employees may need to self-isolate, for example, if they have:

  • Received a positive COVID test result
  • Been exposed to COVID via someone in their household
  • Returned from a country on the red list
  • Been told to isolate by the NHS

Encouraging your employees to isolate when necessary reduces the risk of them coming into work and spreading the virus across your entire workforce. Plus, with a solution such as the  BigChange Network in place, a back-office team member can still work remotely to support any reactive (urgent) job scheduling and communicate in real-time with the engineer.

However, if a staff member develops symptoms of COVID at work, they must immediately alert their manager and return home to take a test. If the test result is positive, the worker shouldn’t return to the site until they have completed their period of isolation and are no longer unwell.

2. Site Access

The key to preventing the spread of COVID on-site is to limit the number of people in enclosed areas of the building. For example, you may want to prohibit access for any non-essential visitors or schedule staggered start and finish times for your office-based staff, so that they’re not all in the building at the same time.

For your field-based workers, you should reduce the number of people in attendance at site inductions. Consider holding site inductions outdoors whenever it’s practical to do so. Drivers should also aim to remain in their vehicles when loading and unloading deliveries when possible. If they must exit the vehicle, they should wash or sanitise their hands before handling any materials.

To ensure that everyone is following best hygiene practices, you must provide your workers with suitable toilet and handwashing facilities and make them aware of any COVID safety measures you have in place to prevent contamination.

3. On-Site Facilities

If your offices have communal areas such as canteens or showers, you should also consider ways to mitigate the risk of a COVID outbreak in those spaces. For example, you may wish to make it mandatory for non-exempt employees to wear a face mask when they’re not sitting at their desks or outdoors. 

Again, you should consider capacity. Try to limit the number of people using communal facilities at one time and encourage everyone to socially distance. You can control the group size by staggering break times or providing additional recreational areas for staff members to use during the day.

As with any area in the building, you must frequently clean surfaces and provide handwashing facilities.

4. Work Planning

You should conduct a risk assessment to determine whether work can continue safely and share the results with your employees. The Construction Leadership Council advises that certain activities should be eliminated or reduced to lower the risk of a COVID outbreak at work:

  • Eliminate: Workers who have COVID shouldn’t attend the workplace. Likewise, you should avoid holding in-person meetings where several people will be in one room.
  • Reduce: You should minimise the frequency and time that people are working together. Ensure you keep teams to small numbers and that they frequently wash their hands.

For COVID safety measures to be effective, everyone in your construction firm must take responsibility for their actions. Encourage an open and collaborative approach where employees can discuss any issues. As a result, you’ll find that your employees work better and more safely together.

5. First Aid

You still need to administer first aid to workers until the emergency services attend. However, there may be delays in the emergency service’s response due to the pandemic. Consequently, you should consider rescheduling high-risk work or providing additional trauma resources. You must also ensure that there is adequate first aid equipment on-site and that worker contact details are up-to-date. With BigChange, you can store all employee information electronically for straightforward access during emergencies.

To read the complete Construction Leadership Council guidance, click here.

Protect Your Workers and Your Construction Firm with BigChange

Your people are your most important asset. 

BigChange gives you the power to keep your employees working safely and ensure their personal information is secure and up-to-date.

With our online driver behaviour analysis, risk assessments, method statements and vehicle walkaround checks, you can rest assured that health and safety are a number one priority.

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

For August’s Motivational Monday we welcomed Gabby Logan to BigChange

In a fascinating hour, Gabby explored her journey to the top in the male-dominated world of sports broadcasting, how COVID-19 might make us work smarter not longer, and how she first met Martin Port over a pizza 30 years ago.

Gabby has been a leading sports broadcaster with Sky, ITV and the BBC for over 20 years. As a presenter of Inside Sport, Final Score and the Premier League Show – as well as anchor of coverage of Olympic Games and World Cups – she’s become a household name.

Her success makes her a female role model in an industry now much more diverse than when she began. Gabby talked us through what she’s learnt on her journey, from being told she wouldn’t be able to combine being a barrister and a mother, to reaching the very top of another male-dominated world.

In the video, which you can view below, she also discusses the latest news in the world of sport, like the growth of activism in football, and the struggle to get more kids involved.

Some key takeaways from Gabby’s visit include making a leap of faith to achieve your dream, not getting down on yourself about mistakes that are out of your control, and the importance of being a role model.

Thank you Gabby, for the inspirational stories – and for your repertoire of impressions!

Watch the Video:

Last month, Boris Johnson told the nation that it was time to go back to work.

Public transport was now safe to use, he claimed, so go out and stimulate the economy.

If he expected a stampede of commuters on August 1, he was disappointed. Just a third of Britain’s workers have gone back to the office so far this month. This is the lowest figure in Europe. In France, that number is as high as 83%.

It can’t have helped that the same day the Prime Minister was trying to chivvy us all back to the office, his Chief Scientific Advisor, Patrick Vallance, was telling people to ignore the advice and stay home.

Schools will reopen and are perfectly safe, we are told. Pubs are breeding grounds for the virus and may be closed down again. Soft play areas are dangerous but nurseries are not. Clubs are bad but gyms are fine.

We have been receiving mixed messages from Government throughout this pandemic and we are tired of it.

BigChange, like many resilient British firms, has been operating throughout lockdown. It’s been ‘business as usual’ for us, with almost every member of the team working from home. We have pivoted to offer virtual meetings and support and we’ve been delighted by the response from customers. We’ve had many stellar reviews over the last few months, proving to me that the virtual model works for us.

But we do want to help support the economy. We recognise the plight of many local businesses, like coffee shops that rely on commuter trade. We also want to offer access to the office to colleagues who want to come in for some peace and quiet, or to see colleagues (albeit at a distance).

I recently asked my network for some help finding a health and safety expert to review our office facilities and check whether it would be possible to reopen. A customer put us in touch with a brilliant gentleman who came and did a recce last week.

We have 10,000 square feet of space at our Leeds office. More than 100 people usually work there. Yet, taking into consideration all the new social distancing rules, just 15 people can now be in our office at any one time.

This is because the social areas, such as loos and kitchen, are not set up for social distancing. If I’m honest, they were too small even before we had to keep staff 2m apart. That’s just how offices are designed these days.

If we have just 15 people in the office, they can easily stay more than 2m apart. But does that mean they will be completely safe? We don’t know. The Government doesn’t know.

We use air conditioning in our offices, like many organisations across the UK. Most modern office buildings don’t even have windows that open; air is recirculated between floors. Could the virus be spread through the vents? We are in discussions with the landlord to try and find a solution but shouldn’t this be a job for Government?

And if we ask people to wear masks into the office, what masks should we tell them to wear? We don’t know. There is still no British standard for masks. People can wear any old piece of cloth, even though it’s possible that anything less than surgical grade does little to protect others.

Some business owners are opting to leave all internal doors open to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on door handles. That’s not an option for us. Our internal doors are fire doors. Fire beats COVID-19 on my list of risks. So are we expected to hire someone to disinfect all our doors and stainless steel surfaces every half an hour? Will that mean just 14 people from BigChange can now return to the office?

This is just a taste of the complexity business leaders are facing right now. Government is issuing statements and practical guidance – but often these are conflicting or out of date. The threat of local lockdowns and second waves will be with us for months to come. This is why BigChange remains committed to working from home for the foreseeable.

However, we are setting up the office to enable limited use. Our employees will be able to book a slot if they need a better working environment or to work with new team members. Attendance will be completely voluntary. People can choose not to come to the office at all. In the meantime, we will continue to look for new and effective virtual approaches to developing company culture and building relationships between teams.

So my question to you, Prime Minister, is this:

How can you expect business leaders to reopen offices and get people back to work when regulations dictate that we can only have a fraction of the team in the building at one time? How can we reassure our staff we are prioritizing their safety when there is no definitive decision on all the risks they may face?

You may be able to chop and change and send out mixed messages, but I take the welfare of my people extremely seriously and I want them to know everything I tell them is correct, verifiable, and in their best interests.

So, come on, Boris. Sort out this mess.

The North East’s largest housing association, Thirteen is transforming its facilities management (FM) services with new mobile workforce management technology supplied by Leeds-based BigChange.

The system, which incorporates CRM, job scheduling, a customer portal, vehicle tracking and a mobile app, is helping to improve services, reduce costs and boost productivity.

Thirteen’s facilities management team provides services such as grounds maintenance, estate care, caretaker and cleaning services to its 70,000 customers.

Michael Hall, Senior FM manager at Thirteen commented:

“Previously we relied on a combination of paper records and spreadsheets and with the volume of work we had it was clear we needed to replace what was a cumbersome, largely manual system”.

“BigChange has transformed the way we work by eliminating paper and providing complete visibility of our work.”

Thirteen’s mobile teams carry out planned and reactive maintenance. Equipped with tablets running the 5 in 1 JobWatch mobile app linked to real-time vehicle tracking, the devices are used for everything from vehicle inspections, COVID-19 safety checks and electronic job sheets linked to photographs from site.

“JobWatch gives us a live 24/7 view of all our work; scheduled and reactive. It’s the data that the system collects and processes that is really useful. We have real insight into our actual costs and performance – something we simply didn’t have before. Now we can look at our performance against what are more realistic targets”.

“Already we’ve been able to halve daily mileage, reducing wasted travelling time and costs and we expect we will be able to dramatically improve our productivity through better resource planning, allocation and coordination”.

Rolling out the new system has proved easier than expected.

Michael clarified:

“We are always busy, so we expected this to be a challenge, but remarkably just one person was able to set up and manage the implementation of BigChange – it was that easy and the support was great”.

The other anticipated issue was in persuading colleagues about the benefits of the new system.

“One factor we did not anticipate was Coronavirus. Thirteen continued to provide services to customers during the COVID-19 lockdown and that meant introducing safety procedures for our colleagues. Immediately we were able to introduce a COVID-19 safe working procedure using JobWatch – an app that everyone embraced straight away”.

For Thirteen tablets quickly became the accepted way of working, but as a cloud solution, the BigChange system itself also allowed major operational changes to be made quickly. This included working from home and negated the need for teams to come into the office at the start of the day.

“Suddenly we switched to complete mobile working and our teams simply working from home saving at lot of time and mileage. We can track departure and arrival times and without the depot visits productivity is much better and it has been a real transformation – everyone is very happy with the change”.

Russell Thompson, Executive Director commended:

“The system now gives us vital management information. We can now measure things and for the first time we have been able to introduce an optimal delivery model. That means we can do more work in less time allowing us to improve the value of services to our customers”.

The BigChange solution includes a booking app that Thirteen feel offers great potential.

Thompson concluded:

“This web portal facility is a brilliant addition to BigChange as it allows jobs to be booked through a very simple app. This means managers, caretakers and other frontline staff can request a service via the app while onsite and the job can be scheduled immediately. This eliminates delays getting paperwork signed off – we’ll be a lot quicker and more efficient as we roll out this handy tool.”

BigChange Thirteen grounds team



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