How to Ensure Your Field Service Engineers Have Legal Working Hours

November 18, 2021

Checking in on a job and finding out your field service engineer has exceeded the legal working hours is a surprise no manager wants. As we all know, working in the field isn’t exactly predictable. There are contracts to sign, parts to order, and sometimes a job that should have taken one hour ends up taking four. Not to mention that driving time, an essential aspect of a field service engineer's job, is counted as hourly work. 

Unless you’re prepared to receive a formal grievance from a resource, it’s best to learn the facts behind the UK’s employment laws and ensure you have procedures in place to prevent illegal overtime work before it happens. 

In this article, we will discuss what constitutes legal working hours and five strategies to help you maintain a compliant work schedule for your engineers.

How to Maintain Legal Working Hours: Five Top Tips

Like most workers in the UK, field service engineers are allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours a week, including overtime. For field service engineers, travel to and from each site, time spent on call on a worksite, and even travel between home and work all count as legal working hours. 

Whether or not overtime is stipulated in the contract, working more than 48 hours is considered in excess of the legal working hours. Employers have the option of asking their employees or contractors to opt out of the 48-hour work week, but a special contract must be signed stating so. 

Although there is a lot to keep track of, managing your employees' working hours needn't be a headache. 

Fortunately, we are living in a digital age where mobile workforce solutions like BigChange can help keep jobs on deadline, track working hours, and help you stay in compliance with UK labour laws.

1. Reduce Administrative Time with Digital Paperwork

What’s worse than knowing your field service managers are wasting hours on the job trying to find the right paperwork? 

Digitising your processes and procedures could greatly reduce the time that each field engineer spends on the job. With a mobile workforce management platform like BigChange, field service engineers can use their phone cameras to provide proof of a finished job, send requests for additional equipment with the tap of a finger, and view and share relevant files with the back office in real time. 

Best of all, using modern workforce management technology lets you see how each job is going and, most importantly, how long it’s taking, right from your phone, tablet, or computer.

2. Easily Track Field Engineer Hours

The easiest way to make sure your field service engineers stay within legal working hours is to see how many hours they're putting in each day. Using BigChange’s mobile workforce management software, you will have access to each individual’s working hours, hourly pay, and any special out-of-hours rates. 

The softwarewill help your back-office staff keep track of resource timesheets, expenses, and holidays. Using BigChange’s complete Job Management Platform, managers can also quickly approve and reject timesheets, holidays, and expense claims. 

BigChange’s detailed time-stamping feature also goes beyond when an engineer clocked in and out. It also includes when jobs were received and accepted, when the engineer began traveling, and when they arrived to begin work. Not only will this help you see exactly how your engineers are spending their time, you can also use this information if you face a customer complaint.

3. Reduce Driving Time with Intelligent Scheduling

One of the main reasons many jobs end up taking longer is due to driving time. Now that companies are required to pay field service engineers for time spent driving to clients, the hours can add up fast.

The best way to address this problem is to reduce how far each technician travels for each job. Using BigChange’s intelligent scheduling assistantenables you to shorten your technicians' routes by sharing the following real-time information:

  • Real-time resource location
  • live-traffic information
  • job constraints (such as skills or qualifications)
  • Type of vehicle
  • Inventory
  • Detailed service information
  • Customer history and requirements

As such, you can rest assured that you're making the most of your technicians' time and attending to more customers' jobs per day.

4. Stop Overbooking Before It Happens

When business is moving at such a fast pace, it’s not always easy to make sure that your field service engineers aren’t accruing excess hours. While having an individual profile of each engineer's working hours, holidays, and absences can help you stick to the legal working hour limit, having systems in place to alert you if there’s a possibility of overtime work is your best bet. 

Beyond simply tracking hours and cutting out time-consuming paperwork, BigChange’s mobile workforce management software enables employers to set up custom alerts to notify engineers if they’re in danger of over-running a job. 

Field service engineers are also empowered to pause, suspend, or reject jobs that they either don’t have the bandwidth to perform or are running over schedule. All of this communication can be done seamlessly through the BigChange app so that field service engineers and the back-office are always on the same page instantaneously.

5. Complete Extra Work Orders with Subcontractors

When you’re doing good work, you often end up with more work as a result of your great reputation. Although a boost to your bottom line is always beneficial, it could make sticking to each individual’s 48-legal working hours a challenge if you don’t have the field service engineers on-hand to handle your workload.

Being able to easily hire subcontractors when you have an unexpected workload is a great way to address this problem. Luckily, setting up subcontractor licenses through the BigChange Network makes hiring extra help a breeze.

Guarantee Legal Working Hours with BigChange

BigChange’s mobile workforce management software doesn't just help simplify your business procedures, it also provides you with various ways to avoid exceeding legal working hours for your field service engineers. 

Whether it’s digitising job paperwork, easily tracking your field service engineers’ hours, hiring the best and closest engineers for the job, or bringing on a subcontractor when there’s a large workload, using the BigChange mobile workforce management platform will help you keep your staff within their legal working hours. 

Want to find out more?

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

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