Using Software to Improve Blue-Collar Operations

by Paralee Walls in July 21st, 2021

If it feels like something is missing in your deskless workforce, that’s probably the case. A lot of companies around the country are struggling with day-to-day operations such as employee communication and recruiting/hiring. There are more than 500,000 software companies in the US alone that solve every issue from automating onboarding paperwork to sending a personalized "Happy Birthday" message to their employees.

While most software is designed for the companies where everyone is glued to a computer all day, software built specifically for the deskless—or blue-collar—workforce is out there and might be exactly what you need to bring your operation to the next level. In this piece, we’ll explore this idea. You’ll learn more about software, see the difference it can make, and find out how it can help your business.

The Truth About Most Software

If you start to look through the software on the market, a large number of them were designed specifically for white-collar workers. They assume that the user has access to a computer at all times during the working day and a certain level of technical prowess.

The simple truth is that most software isn’t built for the blue-collar worker. This is causing a shift in efficiency. White-collar workers are reaping the benefit of all this available software while the blue-collar worker is falling behind.

The solution is blue-collar software.

What is Blue-Collar Software?

Blue-collar software is a program or service that’s designed specifically for people working in the trades, working with their hands, and doing physical tasks. As you know, these folks aren’t sitting at a desk all day with constant access to a laptop or PC.

By designing the software around this idea, the deskless workforce can finally get some of the benefits that white-collar workers have been enjoying for years.

These unsung heroes of the workforce haven’t had available software for scheduling, billing, or navigation. That is, until the modern-day.

Can Modern Software Be Designed for Blue-Collar Workers?

With the prevalence and availability of mobile phones and tablets, it's easier than ever to bring software out into the field. Software developers (who do sit behind a desk all day) have made amazing progress in designing simple-to-use programs that can simplify everyday headaches such as time management (clocking in and out, vacation requests, etc.) and once-a-year stress bombs like open enrollment.

Before you start thinking, "well, my workers don't all have smartphones, so software won't help me," think again.

It is true that many software solutions use apps (Crew, Beekeeper, etc.) which require field employees to have a smartphone, some (like Team Engine) are specifically designed to allow an office employee (like you, the HR team of one) to connect with every single field employee through text messaging without using your personal phone.

The Difference of Specially Made Software

Software that’s made specifically for a particular person's needs will see much better results within than a person without them. For instance, left-handed baseball gloves work really well for lefties. If you give a lefty a right-handed glove, they can work with it, but it’ll be really uncomfortable and won’t play to their strengths.

This is the exact same scenario for blue-collar workers. Give them software that was made for them and you’ll see an immediate shift in the workplace.

Solving Key Challenges in a Deskless Workforce

What are some major challenges in a deskless workforce? A lot of the problems can be solved with some purposefully made software. Here are some common resolutions that we see with blue-collar software:

Make Mandatory Training Easier

There is always some training around the corner, whether it's the monthly safety meeting or new certifications for a piece of equipment, and it can be easy to miss a paycheck stuffer or sign in the break room announcing the date and time. On the other hand, the average open rate of a text message is 97% within 15 minutes and 99% overall.

With your workforce scattered around the warehouse, city, or production floor, using software to communicate with every employee can send a text directly to their phones, ensuring they all know exactly when and where they are supposed to be.

With blue-collar training, the whole process becomes easier. The worker has a quick and easy way to get notifications and can respond with any questions. The training becomes less stressful, and the worker can pay attention better and retain more information.

Help Manage Efficiency

Most of the efficiency programs on the market revolve around a computer. Instead, using a phone-based application can appeal to a blue-collar workforce.

The idea of efficiency varies a lot from industry to industry. For a plumber, it might translate to how many house-calls they can make in a single day.

For them, a pocket-based app that allows them to plan their schedule, talk to your headquarters, and communicate with upcoming customers is huge. They don’t have to run back to home base just to get on a computer.

Higher efficiency typically turns into more money in the company’s pocket.

Storing Documents

In the construction space, there’s plenty of progress and documentation that needs to be put together. With a large enough team, this can become a logistical nightmare.

At a certain point, a foreman can be so swamped with uploading and storing documents that they can’t be out in the field with the guys working.

Alternatively, the foreman could simply text a photo of any important documents to a central number to store all the documents in question. This can be done between conversations directly in the field.

Sharing Information Quickly and Easily

What happens when someone in the field needs to present to some people around the organization. A one-on-one FaceTime or phone call can only get you so far.

Blue-collar software will allow the worker to conference in with a number of people and present information. This is critical for any project that has a project manager or interdisciplinary team that needs updates.

The stored documents from the previous section can also come in handy here. A central piece of software will link these documents to everyone who needs to see them. This makes sharing information even quicker and easier.

Track Time and Perform Payroll Duties More Efficiently

Another place where we see a big impact is in keeping track of all the payroll changes that can happen in a week or two. When every minute matters—and it does quite a lot of hourly workers—it's important to have something in place that allows them to communicate any call-outs, changes to clock-in/out, or request days off without having to physically stop by the HR office.

This is a huge step-up from the traditional punch card, manual payroll, and physical checks written. There’s just a lot of room for error in the old-school way.

At the same time, using software to manage payroll changes keeps things as simple as possible for you and the workforce since it's all handled through texting on their side and consolidated into one program on the HR side.

Can You Really Improve Your Results with Blue-Collar Software?

There’s a lot of skepticism when it comes to blue-collar software. We’ve seen first-hand that it actually works. We’ve worked with countless companies that have improved multiple dimensions of their operation just through blue-collar software.

When your team has the right tools, you might be amazed by what can be accomplished.

Conclusion

Using specially made software in a blue-collar setting will help your workers be more efficient, safe time, and achieve better accuracy overall. You just learned some different ways that blue-collar software can help your operation.

If you want to learn more, you can request a free trial from our software pros at TeamEngine. We put together blue-collar software that makes a difference.

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