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Over the past week, there has been a lot of buzz around the benefits of the 4-day working week. Various politicians have called on the Chancellor to explore the option for the UK, as a way to generate more jobs.

At BigChange, we are way ahead of the curve. We are on course to move to a 4-day week in 2021. Right now, we’re on a 4.5-day week through our Flexi Friday initiative, which allows my colleagues to take a half-day every Friday – or when it’s convenient for them and their team. It’s been hugely popular and we have seen no dip in productivity – if anything, quite the reverse. The happier your people are, the more productive they tend to be.

When Microsoft in Japan introduced a 4-day week last year, while still paying employees the same salary as for five days, it found that labour productivity rose by nearly 40 per cent.

This is a difficult time for Britain’s workers. We know that the government’s furlough scheme is coming to an end in a few months. The forecast is for mass redundancies, especially in the hardest-hit sectors such as aviation and hospitality. This cloud hangs over everyone, and could mean that people are desperate to hang on to a job – any job.

This is why it’s so important for business leaders like me to stay committed to all the initiatives aimed at supporting and caring for our people, like the 4-day week. It would be easy to demand that employees work longer hours, citing the failing economy or industry pressures but that is just bad business.

I am still absolutely committed to introducing the 4-day week to BigChange. It’s important to note that this extra day off each week will be discretional, to be decided by the team member and their manager. We aren’t closing the office for a day a week, and if people feel that they need to work virtual on the fifth day to finish something urgent, then so be it. The aim is to encourage everyone at BigChange to work efficiently, and manage their time well, so that they can have a 4-day week without feeling overloaded or stressed, or like they don’t have time to finish projects.

I believe that our approach to the 4-day week will not only help my team to find a great work/life balance, it will also allow us to employ new people, creating more jobs for the British economy. Giving people an extra day off, while paying a competitive salary, not only allows them to spend more time with family, it also gives them the chance to learn new skills.

This is also a time of increased stress and anxiety. We all need the time and space to take extra care of our mental health and wellbeing, and look out for friends, family, and our communities.

The current pandemic has shown many leaders – including me – that we don’t need to be in an office to succeed, and that people perform really well when they are allowed to work flexibly. This will allow us to grow faster than ever. BigChange is an international player, working across multiple time zones. By allowing flexible working, we can start introducing night shifts, whereby UK colleagues can pick up calls from the US or further afield, all from home, knowing they have three days off ahead. We can also begin hiring people from deprived areas, instead of focusing on those within an easy commute to Leeds.

Where you live should not be a determinant of what kind of job you can secure.

It’s great that some politicians are waking up to the opportunities that a four-day week could bring but I would also like to see some tangible support for those of us leading the way. If the Chancellor wants to help, he could support the training and up-skilling of new employees, for example, or offer tax breaks to the forward-thinking organisations that are investing in a 4-day week.

I really hope that calling for the short week is more than a political move to try and win over voters. We need to work together to make the 4-day working week a reality. I know that it is what the economy, business, and workers need. The time is now.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could manage your mobile workforce in the cloud, all linked beautifully with your Sage accounting software?

With less paperwork and freedom from double-keying from one system to another. You’ll be able to say goodbye to whiteboards and spreadsheets. You’ll be able to schedule work smartly, in a matter of clicks and be able to utilise an easy to use app. Giving your engineers and drivers all the information they need to carry out every task, including risk assessments.

Customers can be informed by text message, letting them know that you’re on your way, while you have complete visibility of everything.

After the work has been completed, industry job cards and certificates are created instantly, and all without a single piece of paper.

Imagine if, as you created the invoice, all the information would instantly be kept in sync with Sage as well as your payments, purchase orders and contacts.

With BigChanges 5 in 1 mobile workforce management software and job management system, you have all this and more.

Discover a truly integrated solution for field service management that combines everything you need to run your business, beginning to end.

The BigChange platform provides you with a CRM so all your customer records and data are secure in one place.

With the BigChange platform you’ll have access to intelligent job scheduling, a mobile workforce app that does everything for your team whilst on the go, live tracking of your vehicles, plus access to the BigChange network that will allow you to collaborate with other subcontractors and businesses.

And the icing on the cake? Seamless integration with Sage, so everything is synced.

Watch the Video:

H2O FlowTech has successfully rolled out the latest mobile workforce management technology from Leeds-based BigChange.

As part of a digital transformation replacing paper throughout the company, the new system combines back office management software with a mobile app to support rapid expansion of H2O’s business.

H2O specialise in the installation, maintenance and repair of pumps, pumping stations and sewage treatment plants. The Bury-based company looks after over 600 different pumping stations, operating in the North West in an area extending from North Wales to Yorkshire, Cumbria and Midlands.

Private pumping stations and treatment plants – usually buried underground – are owned by local authorities, commercial property companies and private estate owners. With new waste legislation coming into force in January 2020 to limit the use of certain types of septic tanks, H2O has seen a surge in business for plants that treat sewage and discharge clean, safe water.

Mick Brindle, Director, H2O FlowTech commented:

“Our largely paper based system was cumbersome and slow, and dealing with paper forms was difficult outdoors in poor weather. With the increasing demand for our equipment and services we knew we’d be overwhelmed with paperwork if we didn’t switch to a digital system,”

H2O vans are fitted with BigChange vehicle trackers and the two-person teams use JobWatch the 5 in 1 app that provides digital versions of all paper forms. JobWatch synchronises in real time with the office giving H2O operations complete 24/7 visibility of engineer movements and job status.

Lead engineers are equipped with rugged tablets and their assistants run the app on their mobile phones. Photographs taken on site for evidence of work completed such as newly installed pumps and control panels are provided as part of instant digital reports to customers.

Mick continued:

“With BigChange we’ve considerably increased our turnover without needing any extra staff. We are more productive and have much better visibility. The data is all collected in one hit and this is a big improvement and the digital job reporting is a tremendous step up – customers are very
impressed especially with the supporting photos from site showing work completed.”

H2O are finding BigChange is very useful for emergency work. If there is an equipment breakdown a job is created and simply dragged into the scheduler which instantly schedules the work. JobWatch also provides access to records of previous work done at a site which is proving a real asset to engineers arriving on a job.

H2O see BigChange as important for expanding allowing the company to work nationally. The system is also seen as key to securing and winning larger contracts with facilities management companies who need to provide electronic records to their customers.

Mick explained:

“With BigChange everything is at our fingertips and it is synchronised with Sage giving us total visibility of the business – margins on jobs, cash flow and we can keep a close eye on quotes and invoicing. From our mobiles we can immediately see what’s going on across the business including the status of every job. This means we can work from anywhere”

Mick concluded:

“In fact during Coronavirus lockdown we’d have been completely floored without BigChange. If we’d still been paper-based we simply couldn’t have done our job – as things were customers did not see any change at all.”

BigChange h2o flowtech

Metroline Fire & Security has implemented high tech mobile workforce management technology from Leeds-based BigChange. The cloud based system that combines back office software with a mobile app has replaced a number of different systems with a real-time management and operational system that has proved invaluable for delivering services during the Coronavirus crisis.

Folkstone-based Metroline Fire & Security design, install and maintain fire alarms, intruder alarms, access control and CCTV systems for commercial and residential clients throughout Kent and East Sussex. The BigChange system, which went live in January 2020, has replaced an ageing job management software and a separate vehicle tracking system.

“BigChange has enabled us to undertake a complete digital transformation of our business, replacing a series of separate systems giving us a single view and total visibility of the business” says Paul Roberts, Director Metroline Fire & Security.

Running a fleet of 25 vehicles – tracked as part of the BigChange system – the company’s engineers use JobWatch a 5 in 1 mobile phone app that synchronises in real time with the central office CRM and scheduling system.

Paul commented:

“BigChange has already provided Metroline with significant improvements in productivity and customer service and during the Coronavirus crisis it has allowed us to continue to operate seamlessly with no impact of our ability to deliver our services. On lockdown, everyone could work from home we were able to shut down the office and be up and running at home within one hour.”

With BigChange also we can change the way we operate we are looking at ways to stock up vehicles to use the stock facility on JobWatch.

Metroline installation and maintenance engineers receive jobs on their mobiles with the JobWatch app replacing all paperwork with electronic data entry for everything from job sheets, to vehicle checks and risk assessments. Linked to job sheets are photographs captured on site showing completed installations and repairs with control panels to provide evidence of ‘all working in order’.

Paul continued:

“The BigChange No Touch Signature Capture App has been especially useful allowing us to gain job sign-off without directly interacting with the customer. With hotels and schools closed our usual contacts are simply not at work with the No Touch feature supported by photos showing work completed we can easily get jobs signed off.”

Metroline has seen some immediate benefits in efficiency through improved scheduling and tracking allowing the optimisation of resources through pinpointing of the nearest available engineer and improved route planning to reduce unnecessary mileage.

BigChange Metroline vehicle

The power of BigChange seamlessly integrated with your Xero accounting software.

Business owners in the UK and beyond will now be able to manage their workforce, schedule jobs, meet health and safety requirements, and issue invoices, without having to waste time updating their accountancy package separately.

Leeds-based BigChange, which has created a 5-in-1 technology platform for managing mobile workers, has announced a seamless integration with online accountancy giant Xero.

The move promises to eliminate the need for ‘double keying’, whereby information has to be re-entered into separate apps or software packages. Research shows that this ‘double keying’ can lead to workers wasting as much as two hours in front of a screen each day.

BigChange founder Martin Port commented:

“We all rely on technology to run our businesses – and our lives. Apps and software make us more efficient, and remove a lot of the grunt work, allowing us to focus on the stuff that really matters. But when these apps can’t communicate with each other, we are forced to type out the same data over and over, which increases the risk of errors creeping into records.”

“It has always been our aim at BigChange to bring the world’s best software systems onto our platform. I am delighted that Xero, a leading online accounts software, is now available to our users.”

Users are able to access Xero through a user-friendly link in BigChange. Settings are configured directly in JobWatch and contacts, financial information, and invoices are easily and securely passed between the two systems in real-time. This makes it easy to see the most and least profitable jobs, for example.

Early adopters claim that the BigChange integration with Xero has already been a significant time-saver.

Julie Simpson, financial advisor at CRS Communications (Fire & Security specialists) said:

“The integration between Xero and BigChange is fantastic as records are completely synchronised between the two systems, saving us literally hours of time.”

“It makes our job a lot easier and we are much more efficient.”

According to Michael Cairns, managing director at Celsius Plumbing & Heating,

“The BigChange/Xero link not only saves a lot of admin time but on my mobile phone, I can immediately see what’s been invoiced and access our financials, anywhere, anytime. It basically unlocks accounts and opens opportunities to improve the way we work as a business.”

When invoices are created in BigChange’s JobWatch system, the information is automatically passed to Xero.

“The new link between BigChange & Xero is now seamless and instant no delays. We only have to enter data once and that cuts hours off our admin time. Now anyone can raise an invoice we don’t have to rely solely on the accounts team. This system automation will allow us to grow without increasing our back office headcount.”

BigChange not only drives efficiencies, it also allows users to team up through its network. This helps customers to scale, taking on new jobs and trusted tradespeople across multiple geographies with little risk.

According to Chris Langrick, chartered accountant and director of Langricks, the Xero integration will encourage even more forward-thinking accountants to recommend BigChange to their clients.

Chris explained:

“Accountants need to be thinking about how they can advise their clients to use technology to operate in a more efficient manner,”

“BigChange’s Platform offers many advantages and now that financial information automatically ingrates with Xero, it’s even more attractive; a no brainer. In these uncertain times, there has never been a greater need to embrace the benefits of smart technologies like BigChange.”

Watch the Video:

BigChange welcomed Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson on the 1st of June to be our latest Motivational Monday speaker.

Tanni is one of the UK’s most successful and celebrated Paralympians, breaking 30 World Records during her career on the track. But not only is Tanni an incredible athlete, she is also a truly inspiring person who has contributed hugely to empowering other people with disabilities, in both the UK and abroad.

As you will see in the video below, Tanni spoke to us about her amazing career, both on and off the track, highlighting challenges she has had to overcome to get to where she is today. Key takeaway messages from Tanni included to never be afraid to lose (knowing that you can come back stronger), believing that with hard-work you can achieve your goals, and to always ‘pay it forward’ when you yourself have benefited from something.

Tanni also touches on the impact that the current Covid-19 pandemic has had and what coming out of isolation means, particularly for people with a disability.

Thank you, Tanni, for an amazing and inspiring insight into your life.

Watch the Video:

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