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January is hard for field-service teams. Matthew Fisher, HR Manager at BigChange, offers leaders simple advice on keeping teams’ mental health strong over the winter

January can be a tough time for field-service workers. It’s cold, dark and potentially lonely. The 17th brings Blue Monday, by which time all that’s left of Christmas cheer are the bills. Field-service workers – who work long hours, often in isolation and outdoors – are more exposed than most to the lowering effects.

So, how can you help your team stay upbeat and healthy through the winter – and beyond?

It’s good to talk: start the conversation about mental wellbeing

  • Leaders need to make the first move. Research from 2021 suggested 29% of tradespeople don’t feel comfortable talking to those close to them about their mental health. More than a third don’t know how to reach support services. Start the conversation about mental health. It’s better for your staff and your business than reacting to problems.
  • Have quick one-on-ones with employees and run a mental-health awareness session. Let people know you take it seriously. Share links and information about mental health services. Bulletin boards or intranets are good places to start. 

  • Fit your language to your audience. For instance, it might be better to ask if someone is feeling lower or more worried than usual than to ask if they’re experiencing mental health issues.

  • It’s vital to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Be genuinely supportive and provide a safe environment, no one will open up if they feel that they’ll be judged. 

Walking the walk: what to do when someone is suffering 

  • If you notice someone having a hard time, reach out to discuss what’s going on and how you can support them better. 
  • Different people with different mental health difficulties will have different needs. Ask what someone wants and really listen to the answers. Peronalise and adapt your response as much as possible.
  • Review and (if necessary) change your tactics. You might need to adjust performance goals, offer more flexibility around work, or change how you communicate with an employee. 

Staying well: more self-care, less stress

  • Breathing exercises, spending early-morning time in the sun, or just listening to music you enjoy are all simple ways to boost your mood while on the job. Get the message out about how your people can stay well.
  • Staff can’t do this if they have no time. Build-in protected time, where employees can manage their wellbeing in their own way. This is better than mandatory activities; a casual group-call like a ‘free talk Friday’ will suit some, but not others. 
  • There’s no one right way. Wellbeing activities can be built into businesses of any size at any cost. It may be as simple as asking ‘How are you really doing?’ and being there to listen.

  • Say thanks often. No one likes being taken for granted. Recognise employees’ work. Use meetings, personal emails and chats. In Glassdoor research, more than half (53%) of respondents said feeling more appreciation from their boss would help them stay longer at their company. 

Improve employee experience with field service management software

Mobile workers juggle many tasks – considering upcoming jobs and adapting to situations on the fly, while always being ready to pick up the phone. They are always ‘on’, which can lead to burnout. Technologies that automate repetitive work, provide smart-scheduling, and that can flex to balance employees’ needs through simple things like quick reallocation of jobs can be a real help.

Discover how BigChange field service management software can help enhance your employees’ experience and arrange a free demo today.

Field service organisations that use manual processes are likely operating at a disadvantage because they lack visibility over their operation. This lack of visibility, and continued use of legacy systems and paper-based records, has led to a largely reactive approach when it comes to fleet management, health and safety, and business efficiency. 

Fixing damage to vehicles or doing emergency maintenance in a reactive fashion can eat into profits. It can cost up to five times more to fix something reactively than it does to carry out proactive maintenance regularly. Using outdated methods of fleet management also compromises the safety of your field-based workers as their journeys and risk assessments go unmonitored, meaning that issues could arise when they’re on the road. Fortunately, technology can improve vehicle safety and reduce costly downtime for your business.

Some organisations in field management have shifted to using digital tools to manage their fleet, technicians, customers, and employees. In fact, companies that use field service management software enjoy a 90% time saving on average. However, there is still significant room for modernisation in this industry, and many businesses still rely on guesswork or inefficient processes to get the job done.

So how can technology and software help you manage your fleet more effectively? This article will be a guide on what benefits your company could enjoy if you adopt field-service management (FSM) software.

Manage Vehicle Maintenance Effectively

Businesses that take a preventative approach to vehicle maintenance can save between 12-18% on the costs, compared to firms that only fix something when absolutely necessary — a reactive approach.

To help you take preventative measures when examining your fleet, field management software includes features such as DVSA compliant walkaround checks. The feature allows your drivers to do a daily walk around the vehicle and log any defects through a mobile app. The driver or technician can then check the functionality of the vehicle and record any areas of concern, and they can add their notes to the log for that specific vehicle every day. 

Over time, the system builds a detailed report from the daily checks so that there is always something to refer to if you need to identify the root cause of a vehicle issue. In addition, daily monitoring will allow you to note any changes that could become issues later down the line and pay a lower price to have a vehicle repaired beforehand.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to create Event Alerts for each vehicle. Each ‘event’ is stored on each vehicle’s record so that your back-office staff are notified when your Road Tax is expiring or when the vehicle service or MOT is due to be booked, for example. These notifications help your business stay compliant and avoid unintentional breaches of vehicle laws.

Monitor Mileage with GPS Vehicle Tracking System

Many field service management softwares have a GPS tracking system in place for all the vehicles in their fleet. GPS allows your business to track how far vehicles are travelling before they need routine maintenance without having to do guesswork. BigChange’s vehicle tracking is integrated into the software so that your back-office team can monitor any vehicle when necessary. 

The software records the mileage completed by each vehicle for years, so you can always refer back to previous journeys without having to search through mountains of paperwork or receipts. 

You can also link transactions to the actual mileage completed by each vehicle. By lining fuel card transactions to the mileage data, you’ll be able to calculate highly accurate miles to the gallon figures, as well as identify any discrepancies in your costs. The GPS and fuel features will help you save money and deploy more efficient decisions when managing your fleet of vehicles.

Storing Documents Securely

In 2020, around half (48%) of field service businesses were still using manual administration processes, paper-based methods and legacy systems to manage their field service fleet. Therefore, now is an opportune time to upgrade your systems and stand out from the competition.

You can gain an edge over your competitors by adopting FSM technology for managing your fleet because you can keep all important documentation in one place. You will be able to access any document at any time for any vehicle: MOT certificates, insurance details, leases, invoices for maintenance, or even drivers licences for your employees, all at the touch of a button.

The cloud-based software will store the documents safely so that your back-office staff can access them easily. As a result, time-wasting tasks such as looking through digital folders or sifting through paper records are eliminated.  Your customers and staff will also be able to rest assured that their personal information or important documents are safe. Unlike spreadsheets and legacy systems, which are notoriously challenging to manage compliantly, CRM systems such as the one that is integrated into BigChange’s platform, allow you to carry out GDPR-compliant management of individuals’ details. 

Keeping on Top of Vehicle Safety

If you’re the Head of Operations at your company, it’s unlikely you’ll know everything about every vehicle in your fleet. At most organisations, the state of a field service technician’s vehicle is logged in a book or spreadsheet somewhere only accessible to the back-office staff. 

Using BigChange’s mobile workforce software and GPS vehicle tracking system, you’ll have access to your entire fleet’s history and real-time location at the tap of your finger. Not only does the software give you a comprehensive overview of each vehicle, its age, mileage, and condition, everyone who needs to will be able to access every DVSA compliant walkaround to ensure your vehicles are safe for driving. 

So, aside from reducing administrative headaches, you and your technicians can rest assured that every vehicle is roadworthy and safe to drive.

Another essential part of managing fleet safety is keeping an eye out for how field service technicians are driving from job to job. 

BigChange’s commitment to improving safety on UK roads is why we’ve developed an advanced driver behaviour analysis feature for our platform. Using the GPS vehicle tracking system, you can generate an analysis for each technician that includes their idling, speeding, cornering, braking, and harsh accelerations. Then, to give managers an at-a-glance view of each field service technician’s driving behaviour, the platform assigns a driving score for each driver. 

Combine this driver behaviour analysis with our advanced time-stamping records for each driver, and you’ll be able to understand how your field technicians are driving, and more importantly if they’re taking the necessary breaks to ensure they’ll be alert on the road. 

Optimising Routes

Time is money. But, unfortunately, with petrol prices escalating to an eight-year high in the UK, many field service businesses are losing large sums of money by not optimising their technicians’ routes between jobs. 

However, if you’re relying on spreadsheets or outdated in-house systems to manage everyone’s routes, how can you guarantee that you’re optimising them and able to account for the unpredictable nature of traffic on the roads?

That’s where workforce tracking software comes in.

FSM platforms such as BigChange give you complete visibility over your technicians’ whereabouts so you can allocate nearby jobs to them. The intelligent scheduling assistant uses several factors to identify which technicians are the most suitable to travel to a job to allocate jobs efficiently. You’ll be able to look at:

  • Real-time resource location
  • Live-traffic information
  • Job constraints (such as skills or qualifications)
  • Type of vehicle
  • Inventory of parts required
  • Customer history and requirements

Combining the above information means you can make informed decisions about which technician to allocate to a job — even if they are not geographically closest to it.

As a result, your schedule will be optimised, with as little wasted time as possible, which means not only will your technicians be able to attend more appointments per day, but you’ll also save money per journey, which all contributes to boosting your profits. 

Your technicians’ journeys will also be shorter and managed more efficiently, which puts them at less risk of any road accidents. 

Tracking Tools and Equipment

Your fleet doesn’t just include your vehicles. It also includes your equipment, tools, parts, and other assets like trailers or machinery. Did you know, a staggering 43% of small businesses fail to track their assets and inventory effectively? Because so many field service organisations still rely on old-fashioned, manual tracking methods, and some have no official processes in place, they’re vulnerable to a range of potentially costly issues.

With state-of-the-art asset management software in place, unreliable data becomes a problem of the past. Modern systems record data in real-time, allowing you to make more informed business decisions based on fact rather than needing to count on potentially incorrect paper records.

It makes logical sense to use manual check-out and check-in sheets to keep track of your equipment. However, traditional paper asset management methods don’t always work in practice and are inherently error-prone. In fact, human error is the leading problem for 46% of businesses when it comes to accurately reporting on assets.

Whether your technicians forget to sign the sheets, inadvertently take too many items, store spares in their van for another project, or their writing is simply illegible, you’ll come to realise that the numbers aren’t adding up. 

But whilst those errors may have gone unnoticed, they could have been costing the business a fortune. For example, if your equipment was to go missing, then there’s no exact way of tracking what happened to it. Not only will lost equipment likely stall other projects, but replacements can be expensive. 

Instead, you can create a detailed register of equipment and other vital assets when you digitise your asset management methods. On BigChange, you’ll be able to maintain a record of fitted parts, tools or other specialist equipment, and you can track each item’s movements through serial numbers, barcodes or QR codes on the stock. 

Your technicians can then check inventory in and out directly from their mobile devices, and you will have better visibility over your valuable assets. Digitising your inventory management process will not only save you money replacing expensive equipment but will bring up your first-time fix rates as technicians will have access to the assets they need to complete the job on their first visit.

Improving Your Entire Operation with Fleet Management Technology

However you are currently managing your fleet — whether it be a spreadsheet, paper records, or a system that has been used for a long time — it’s no match to the efficiency of the latest technological advances in the field service industry.

Using a platform like BigChange can revolutionise your operation, and the investment will pay for itself in the savings and added profit you’d make from its use. 

Not only will your bottom-line benefit from adopting a field service management system, but as we’ve seen, your drivers’ safety will always be a priority; your essential documentation will be secure and accessible; your back-office staff will save time on mundane admin and be able to return to tasks that can grow the business, and ultimately your fleet will be in better condition because of the preventive approach you’ll be using to maintain your vehicles.

Managing Your Fleet Effortlessly with BigChange

Manage your entire operation on a single platform. 

BigChange gives you complete control of your admin, from quotes to invoicing and beyond. Also, with our mobile app (available on iOS and Android), you can seamlessly connect your office, field technicians and customers and boost productivity as a result. 

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

With many more experienced field service technicians fast approaching retirement age, they’re leaving behind a significant skills gap that younger generations cannot fill. In fact, 70% of organisations expect the ageing workforce to severely impact their operations within the next five to ten years. 

Therefore, business leaders will need to create innovative ways for their teams to deal with their usual high volume of work without requiring additional hires. 

In reality, the missing piece of the puzzle may lie with field service management (FSM) software. Thanks to technological advancements in recent years, FSM platforms have the power to revolutionise how companies operate and deal with the fallout of the ever-growing skills gap. Read on to learn more. 

How to Close the Skills Gap with Field Service Management Software

Here are the top three ways a field service management platform can help reduce workload for your existing staff and enable you to take on more jobs with fewer resources:

1. Go Paperless and Streamline Administration Processes

Employees believe they waste a staggering two hours per day on admin, paperwork and other pointless tasks instead of focusing on business-critical activities. Worse still, they spend at least 26 minutes of an average seven-and-a-half-hour working day working out how to use outdated or failing technology.

Therefore, if you’re still relying on the same legacy systems and manual processes that you did in the past, it’s time to consider an alternative. When you reduce the workload currently sitting on your team’s ‘to-do’ list by automating time-consuming tasks, you free up their time to take on other activities that would’ve previously required additional hires to cover. 

For example, when you use a field service management platform, customers can make and amend their own bookings via an online portal, meaning your staff won’t have to take phone calls and manually manage the calendar. Instead, they can instantly see the details on the system and use them to assign and dispatch a worker at the click of a button. 

2. Simplify Your Schedule

For many field service businesses, scheduling and dispatching workers presents the most challenges. High levels of reliance on paper-based documents, spreadsheets and multiple inefficient systems cause delays, confusion and even leave some bookings to fall through the cracks entirely.

In contrast, job management platforms take care of the entire process and help your schedule to run like clockwork. The system uses its integrated intelligent scheduling assistant to find technicians for each job based on their location, skillset, qualifications, and vehicle type. 

By significantly shortening your workers’ routes and ensuring that they’re the best person to complete the job the first time, you’ll find that they have time to attend additional bookings each day. So, instead of needing to take on new hires, you can maximise your current workforce’s time to make the most out of their schedules.

3. Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities

41% of people recognise the importance of networking and want to attend more events but don’t believe they have the time. However, networking is one of the best ways to expand your reach and make important professional relationships. 

The good news is that there are now a wide variety of options for time-starved business leaders. When you invest in BigChange’s field service management platform, you’ll instantly gain access to the BigChange Network. As such, you won’t have to leave your office to build partnerships with thousands of other trusted field service organisations worldwide.

You’ll be able to list your company on the site for free and begin receiving connection requests immediately. Additionally, you can post active jobs and hire subcontractors to carry out the work on your behalf. Each listing allows you to include specific requirements, such as qualifications, so you can rest assured that only the most relevant people will represent your organisation. 

As a result, you can offer more services in a broader range of locations, giving you the power to grow your business without needing to embark on a costly recruitment process or struggling to find talent. 

How to Close the Skills Gap with Field Service Management Software

In 2020, 52% of field service businesses were still relying on inefficient, antiquated systems and error-prone manual administration methods to manage their operations. Unfortunately, with the skills gap becoming an ever-increasing issue in the field service industry, businesses will need to modernise their processes in order to manage a higher volume of work with fewer people.

Field service management technology makes it simpler than ever to manage your business. With a platform like BigChange, you can do the following:

  • Accept customer bookings
  • Assign and dispatch workers
  • Track vehicles, assets, stock and equipment
  • Take payments and invoices

…and more, all on a single easy-to-use platform. Simplifying your ways of working and finding ways to reduce the workload for your team will liberate time to attend extra bookings and take on other tasks that contribute directly to business growth. Remember, your existing staff are your most valuable asset, so you must put their time and skills to good use.

Make running your business easier with BigChange

Save valuable time and stay connected to every aspect of your business with BigChange. 

Our secure, cloud-based software helps you track and control every job, from quotation to payment, on a single platform. Everything you need to know will be at your fingertips, making it easy to plan, manage, schedule and track your field-based workforce and transport operations.

Plus, you’ll be able to make the most of our dedicated, expert support.

Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), UK companies lose an average of 38.8 million working days each year due to work-related illnesses and workplace injuries. Not only are occupational ailments inconvenient for workers and companies alike, but they also damage your reputation and have the potential to destroy your bottom line.

Therefore, for field service organisations to thrive in a competitive, post-pandemic landscape, they must make employee health and safety their number one priority.

Fortunately, thanks to technological advancements in recent years, maintaining visibility over your workforce and health and safety procedures needn’t be a headache. Read on to discover how you can use state-of-the-art job management software to look after your employees and avoid disruptions to business-as-usual activities.

Looking After Employees: How Do I Ensure My Staff are Safe at Work?

Historically, it has been tricky for field service organisations to gain a bird’s eye view of their entire operations to guarantee that health and safety procedures are being followed to the letter. Reliance on outdated legacy systems and manual paper-based administration methods create a significant margin for errors to occur. So, how can companies obtain accurate information and keep their workers safe?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, modern technology has the power to handle your health and safety measures without creating extra admin for your back-office team. Here are the top three ways a state-of-the-art job management platform can enhance health and safety in the workplace:

1. Manage Timesheets Electronically

Around 44% of businesses struggle with timesheet errors — some of them on a weekly or daily basis. However, apart from being time-consuming to correct, timesheet mistakes can prevent you from keeping an accurate record of working hours, leading to technicians potentially working over the legal limit per week. 

The good news is, inadvertent errors caused by manual timesheet processing can be a thing of the past when you move over to a job management platform. By providing your field technicians with a mobile application, they can easily log their start and finish, breaks, and travel times directly from their mobile devices.

The platform instantly logs the data from your technicians’ devices and reconciles it against detailed vehicle tracking reports and time-stamped records of job activities. As such, you’ll have an extensive, accurate record of each workers’ day and can ensure that they’re working within legal limits.

2. Maintain Your Equipment and Assets

Data collected by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) suggests that around 44,000 non-fatal injuries are caused by machinery at work each year. Unfortunately, the likelihood of being seriously hurt only increases when you don’t properly maintain your equipment and assets. 

Consequently, predictive and preventative maintenance is key to lowering the risk of harming one of your technicians on the job. With job management software, you can easily keep track of all your equipment and assets to ensure that they’re in excellent working condition.

For example, technicians can perform daily vehicle walkarounds and log the results in the app. Your fleet manager can then see common, recurring issues and work to mitigate them before they become a dangerous or costly hazard.

3. Carry Out Risk Assessments

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect your staff and anyone who visits your site from illness or injuries caused by the work environment. A risk assessment enables you to identify all hazards and work to prevent them before they affect people. In fact, if you employ five or more people, it’s a legal requirement to document your findings.

However, keeping a paper record of your risk assessments can be a logistical nightmare, especially if you need to refer back to them further down the line. In contrast, when you manage your risk assessments electronically, you create and view a complete record of your appraisals in an instant.

But, with a job management platform such as BigChange, risk assessments aren’t limited to your site exclusively. You can protect your technicians on customer visits by providing them with mandatory digital risk assessment forms that they must complete before beginning any work.

The risk assessment results instantly appear on your back office’s system, enabling your team to mitigate hazards and safely get the job back on track without any delay. 

Job Management Software makes Looking After Employees Straightforward

With businesses across the country shelling out an estimated £16.2 billion due to injuries and ill-health caused by the workplace, it’s evident that a lack of proper health and safety procedures presents a costly issue.

Since COVID-19 has impacted many companies countrywide, very few can afford to risk the fallout resulting from occupational harm. Luckily, technology provides a straightforward solution and ensures that your people feel safe at work.

Using BigChange’s job management platform, you’ll have access to the following health & safety features:

  • DVSA-compliant vehicle checks
  • Driver behaviour analysis
  • Risk assessments and method statements
  • Individual resource profiles that show how many hours technicians are working

Subsequently, you and your staff can rest assured that health and safety remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds, regardless of their location.

Create Robust Health and Safety Procedures 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 can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

Unlike office workers, a field workforce is susceptible to a broader range of risks because their location can change with every job. Diverse risk factors at each site make filling out risk assessments crucial so that your workers, assets, and reputation all remain intact and protected.

This article will be a guide on why risk assessments are so crucial to business operations.

What are risk assessments?

Risk assessments are the paperwork that businesses must complete to manage any dangers that a workplace presents. It’s a legal requirement for any employer to carry out risk assessments, and the results of each risk assessment must be recorded if there are five or more people involved in the activity.

Using risk assessments is a simple way to eliminate or reduce risks to the health, safety or wellbeing of employees or members of the public when carrying out business activities. Their primary purpose is to:

  • Identify hazards in a workplace
  • Evaluate risks in a specific place
  • To ensure action is taken or additional support is given in circumstances where risk is higher than ‘low’. For example, steps that would result from a risk assessment would be supplying more workers for a job or additional equipment to make the activity less risky.

Why are risk assessments important?

Apart from being a legal requirement, managing the risks that your field-based workforce is exposed to when you send them out on jobs is essential. 

It’s important to know that routine tasks don’t require a new risk assessment every time for mobile workers. A fresh review is needed only when the setting changes or the activity being carried out alters the level of risk to the worker.

So why are risk assessments important to your business? Let’s look at some of the reasons you should put time and resource into creating sufficient risk assessments for your business operation:

Protecting your staff health and safety

When carried out properly, risk assessments can prevent injury and even loss of life when large machinery is involved. 

Every workplace could have hazards or potential risks that could cause ill health, injury or even damage to tools and equipment. Potential danger on any job can be reduced by following the five steps to conduct a risk assessment so that any risks are noted, and the work is adapted to protect those who are carrying out the job. 

Software such as BigChange includes health and safety HR features, allowing you to attach risk assessments to individual jobs. Having all documentation digitally available for staff to access means everyone involved has transparency about the location’s risks and any measures that have been taken to protect those working at the site. 

Avoiding unnecessary costs

If you don’t fill out effective risk assessments, you could cause a myriad of issues for your business. 

If someone is injured during their work, then you will have to cover sick pay, as well as employing cover for the job. Costs associated with workplace accidents come in the form of fines, legal fees, or even civil action — and the cost could be in the tens or hundreds of thousands for even a minor accident. For example, a factory was fined £274,000 after two workers were injured by moving machinery on separate occasions. A cost like this could be a devastating blow to the business, and will most likely increase your insurance premiums.

Not only will you incur the financial loss, but you could also end up with reputational damage from any incidents. Clients or field workers may not feel safe after an incident occurs that you may have been able to prevent, which could further affect your bottom line due to loss of business and resources. 

Reducing your legal liability

The first question to arise when an accident happens is ‘who is at fault?’.

Risk assessments reduce the likelihood of incidents happening and demonstrate to employees, potential clients, and external bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that ample steps have been taken to comply with the law and protect people from harm.

Improving your processes

When filling out a risk assessment, your business will find alternative ways to carry out an operation or process safely. In addition, this part of the risk assessment process is iterative, meaning companies can revisit it often to ensure that risk is at an acceptable level. 

Consistently looking at processes for carrying out work and ensuring they are continually being improved ensures that safety and security are always front of mind for your employees.

While risk assessments can be related to physical work activities, the company can also use them for key functions within the organisation. For example, carrying out a risk assessment before making a change will allow operations managers to make clearer decisions around changing software and facilities management systems to purchasing a new piece of machinery for their workers. So, the results of the risk assessment will mean minimal disruption during implementation and no increase in risk when it comes to security. 

How field service management software makes running your operation easier

We’ve seen that risk assessments aren’t just a means of solving problems but can be a great vehicle for your business to control changes and improvements to your operational processes.

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 walk-around checks, you can rest assured that health and safety are a number one priority.

In August 2021, we engaged Opinium — a research consultancy —  to survey field service organisations and learn about how they fared in the year since the UK’s strictest lockdown ended.

Did you know that 53% of field service leaders said breached compliance requirements harmed their business over the last year? With rules and regulations constantly updating, it can be tricky to keep up-to-date. But, in a post-pandemic world, organisations can’t afford to be complacent if they are to bounce back stronger than before. 

That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide, which will share some ways you can guarantee your business is always meeting rules and regulations. Read on to learn more.

How Do I Ensure My Business is Meeting Rules and Regulations?

1. Conduct Risk Assessments

Health and safety procedures in the workplace are a must-have for any business to remain compliant. Around 693,000 people sustain an injury at work each year in the UK, but if your company is found to be responsible, there could be hefty fines to pay.

Fortunately, keeping your engineers safe on the job needn’t be an impossible task. When you use job management software to manage your operations, you can provide your field-based workers with an app that enables cross-communication between them and your back-office staff.

As such, you can set mandatory risk assessments that engineers must complete on their mobile devices before starting work or filling out timesheets. Then, should your workers encounter a potential hazard, they can send an alert to your back office. The alert allows your team to work together and mitigate the problem, getting the work back on track without delay.

Not only do risk assessments prevent jobs from coming to a halt, but they also give you peace of mind that your technicians are working safely and to industry standards.

2. Handle Customers’ Information Properly

Shockingly, 52% of businesses aren’t GDPR compliant, putting them at serious risk of operational, financial and reputational damage. Worse still, the chance of inadvertently breaching regulations increases as companies expand rapidly — so how can you ensure your customers’ data is always kept safe?

The best way to handle customer data and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands is by investing in robust, cloud-based software. BigChange’s complete job management platform secures all data in AWS (Amazon Web Services), the world’s most comprehensive and widely-used cloud system. 

The cloud encrypts all sensitive information — meaning it won’t be vulnerable to hackers — and creates backups, so you never have to worry about system crashes. As a result, you and your customers can rest assured that their information won’t be subject to a breach.

3. Monitor Employees’ Working Hours

Approximately 44% of businesses struggle with timesheet errors on a weekly or daily basis. Aside from creating more time-consuming admin, mistakes can give you an inaccurate record of working hours, so you can’t ensure your operatives have been working within legal limits.

When you digitise your timesheets and allow employees to fill them out via their smart devices, they can easily log their start and finish, breaks, and travel times throughout the day. The central job management system then reconciles employees’ data against detailed vehicle tracking reports and time-stamped records of job activities. Consequently, you’ll have an extensive, accurate record of each workers’ day and can ensure that their working hours are compliant with the law. 

Remove the Headache of Meeting Compliances with a Job Management Platform

In the last 12 months, more than half of the field service businesses caught out for breaching rules ended up paying a fine, losing work or suffering reputational harm. Such severe consequences are not ideal for companies that need to bounce back from the already damaging effects of the pandemic.

Therefore, you must modernise your data protection and workplace safety procedures to make them simpler to manage. With BigChange’s field service management software, you’ll have access to the following:

  • DVSA-compliant vehicle checks
  • Driver behaviour analysis
  • Risk assessments and method statements
  • Resource profiles that show technicians’ working hours
  • Secure customer records

Make rules and regulations a priority with state-of-the-art technology, and you’ll never have to worry about the harsh penalties of non-compliance.

Health and Safety Procedures in the Workplace are Prioritised on BigChange

The BigChange complete job management platform is helping field service businesses across the UK win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bring your customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling,   live tracking, field resource management, health and safety procedures, financial management and business intelligence onto one easy-to-use platform and begin enjoying the benefits of a smarter way of working today.

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As people start heading back into the workplace post-pandemic, it’s never been more crucial to undertake a risk assessment to identify any potential hazards.

Currently, UK businesses lose 38.8 million working days due to work-related illness and injury. But, with COVID-19 presenting new threats to people’s health, organisations that want to continue with business-as-usual will need to invent new ways to protect their people and maintain a healthy workforce. 

In this article, we’ll explain what a workplace risk assessment is, why it’s so important and what you need to consider. We’ll then explore the benefits of workplace design and risk assessment before sharing how BigChange can help make the process simpler. 

What is a Workplace Risk Assessment?

As an employer, it is your duty to protect your employees, and anyone else on-site, from illness or injuries caused by the work environment. You can determine how to prevent incidents by conducting a legally mandated workplace risk assessment. If you employ five or more people, you must also document your evaluation.

A workplace risk assessment examines potential causes of harm. Organisations can then decide whether they have taken enough precautions to prevent them. All measures must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations by reducing the number of incidents in the workplace.

However, with COVID-19 now thrown into the mix, a standard risk assessment is unlikely to be thorough enough. For example, a traditional risk assessment may not consider if there are specific cleaning protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Subsequently, your risk assessment should also follow public health regulations and current government guidelines. Workplace risk assessments help to ensure you’re keeping your employees and on-site visitors safe during the pandemic.

How to Carry Out a Workplace Risk Assessment

Every workplace has its own set of potential threats which could cause ill-health or injury. Threats vary in scope and nature and could range from a wet floor to something much more severe, like the spread of coronavirus. 

However, risk assessments help drastically reduce the likelihood of accidents or illness at work by raising awareness of hazards and enabling you to come up with a prevention plan.

Here are the main steps you need to follow when carrying out a workplace risk assessment:

1. Identify the Hazards When Conducting a Workplace Risk Assessment

The first step is to identify anything that can cause harm. On top of the common hazards you would usually look for, you must now also consider how people could transmit COVID to each other on-site. For example, if your spaces aren’t well ventilated, staff may be at greater risk.

Take a walk around your workplace and make a note of any safety concerns you have. Once you’ve created a list, it’s a good idea to ask other people what they think. Someone else may notice a hazard that isn’t immediately obvious to you, especially if they fall into a more vulnerable category. 

2. Figure Out Who Will Be Affected

For each hazard you listed, you must consider everyone that is at risk of harm. You don’t have to identify each person by name; instead, make a note of particular groups. For example, ‘on-site visitors’. By considering specific parties, you’ll be able to establish the best way of mitigating risks in the workplace for anyone who may be directly affected. 

Again, it would be best to ask someone else to double-check that you haven’t missed anyone. Remember, some people may be at higher risk than others, including:

  • New hires who are unfamiliar with the workplace
  • Younger, inexperienced workers
  • Disabled and chronically ill people
  • Pregnant people
  • People who aren’t on-site all the time
  • Members of the public near the site

You should then also consider the likelihood of an incident and the severity of the potential outcome. Covering all the worst-case scenarios of a workplace hazard will help you to develop appropriate precautionary solutions. 

3. Evaluate the Risks and Determine Precautions

Now that you’ve identified the potential hazards, you need to devise a way to avoid them. The best way to put preventative measures in place is to look at your current processes and determine whether they’re effective enough or need an upgrade. You then need to look at any threats where you don’t currently have any defences in place and implement a solution. 

If you can’t eliminate a hazard altogether, you should instead consider ways to control the risk. Here are some steps you can take to lower the chances of accident or injury:

  1. Try a less dangerous alternative: For example, if your workers use chemicals, research the safest option and switch out products to less harmful versions.
  1. Prevent access to the hazard: If people don’t need to enter hazardous areas regularly, consider putting barriers in place to prevent access.
  1. Reduce exposure to the hazard: Don’t expose anyone to potential threats unless absolutely necessary. You must ensure that all employees are adequately trained to deal with any hazardous situation they may find themselves in because of their job role.
  1. Provide personal protective equipment: The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 state that you must provide suitable protective gear to your workers who may be exposed to a hazard unless you’ve adequately controlled threats by other means.
  1. Ensure there are welfare facilities: You must supply your staff with first aid kits and ensure there are designated first aiders in your office. To help prevent the spread of COVID and other illnesses, you should also provide suitable hand washing facilities. 

4. Implement Your Plan

Companies with five or more employees must keep a record of their workplace risk assessment findings. With a field service management system like BigChange, you can keep an electronic record of all risk assessments for future reference, saving you from manually filing and storing your findings.  

Following the evaluation, you should document the following information:

  • Which hazards the assessor identified
  • The persons or groups that could be affected
  • The methods your organisation put in place to mitigate risks
  • Who is monitoring the preventative measures
  • Who carried out the assessment
  • The date of the assessment

It’s also vital to make all employees aware of your plan and spread awareness of risks in the workplace. A better understanding of potential hazards and measures you’ve put in place will help lower the risk of an illness or injury. For example, some companies are still recommending that people continue to wear masks indoors to prevent the spread of COVID.

For more guidance on working safely during the pandemic, you can visit the GOV.UK website.

5. Continuously Review and Update Your Risk Assessment

Now, more than ever, risks in the workplace are constantly changing. Consequently, you should keep your risk assessment up-to-date and re-assess whether your preventative measures are effective at regular intervals.

Here are some examples of when you may need to review your previous assessment:

  • Following a workplace health or injury-related incident
  • When someone has reported a near-miss
  • If there have been significant changes within the workplace

Benefits of Workplace Design and Risk Assessment

It’s crucial to carry out a workplace risk assessment as a means of protecting your employees, on-site visitors and your company. Carrying out the evaluation correctly and putting processes in place to protect people from hazards will ensure that your business doesn’t suffer from destructive financial and reputational repercussions. 

Here are some of the benefits of executing a thorough risk assessment:

1. Alleviates Costs

If you don’t have the necessary measures in place to protect your workers, you could face a colossal financial loss. Not only could you be fined for non-compliance, but you may also have to pay compensation, replace damaged equipment and train replacement staff whilst your injured worker is away.

If you are fined for non-compliance, your insurance premiums could also skyrocket, and your industry reputation will likely take a hit.

Carrying out an in-depth workplace risk assessment and taking the necessary steps to reduce hazards will result in fewer illnesses and injuries. In addition, employees that feel safe at work are less likely to leave, meaning you’ll have decreased turnover and training costs.

A workplace risk assessment needn’t be costly, but any investment you do need to make to maintain compliance are minimal compared to the potential costs following an incident.


2. Saves Lives

Did you know that over the last year, 142 UK workers suffered a fatality at work?

Workplace risk assessments not only lower the chance of employees suffering from minor illnesses or injuries, but they save lives. 

If your workers use heavy machinery, are frequently exposed to toxic materials – such as asbestos – or work with electricity, the probability of an accident increases dramatically. As such, it becomes even more crucial to conduct a thorough workplace risk assessment. 

Highlighting potential workplace risks to your workers may make them think twice about doing something dangerous and, therefore, considerably reduce the likelihood of a disaster.

3. Lowers the Risk of Legal Liability

Whenever your employees report an incident, people will likely want to know who was at fault. If the affected individual or party believes that the company’s negligence caused the problem, it could result in serious legal proceedings and fines. 

Since 2016, the Sentencing Council introduced new guidelines that outlined harsher penalties and fines for organisations that fail to competently manage health and safety matters. As a result, the average fine has shot up to a staggering £150,000. So, if your business is found guilty, you could end up paying dearly.

When conducted with due care and diligence, a workplace risk assessment can significantly minimise the chance that your business will be found guilty of non-compliance. Instead, you can rest assured that you’ve taken the correct steps towards keeping everyone safe on-site.

4. Enhances Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

Workplace risk assessments eradicate the barriers that prevent your employees from doing their jobs and provide them with the correct tools to complete tasks. Instead of wasting time trying to resolve issues resulting from unsuitable working practices or equipment, they will be able to carry on with their work stress-free and be much more productive.

Plus, a safe and healthy workplace results in happier staff, fewer sick days and more company loyalty. Organisations with highly engaged employees enjoy 21% greater profitability, proving that employee happiness can make a big difference to your bottom line.

5. Maintains Your Company’s Reputation

Companies that effectively prevent workplace-related illnesses and accidents are able to build 

a strong reputation with their employees and clients. Therefore, maintaining a safe work environment and avoiding negative publicity is imperative if you want to ensure your business keeps its good name. 

In fact, companies risk losing 22% of business if potential customers find a negative article in their search results. So, make an effort upfront to carry out a comprehensive workplace risk assessment and put sufficient preventative measures in place. As a result, you may find that you’re able to win more work.

Prevent Risks in the Workplace 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 our Job Management Software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

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