A lack of support from field workers’ company IT departments could be responsible for their negative attitudes towards, and confidence with, technology. Our recent research, published in our Field service: the forgotten workforce? report found that this could be putting essential digital transformation initiatives at risk
We found that although 73% of field service professionals use some form of digital technologies while out in the field, many workers are still unconvinced of their usefulness. If companies fail to share the benefits of digital solutions with each team within their organisation, field workers risk missing out on communication with the rest of the team, as well as increased efficiency and productivity benefits.
So, how do field workers really feel about technology?
When we asked field workers to describe their feelings towards the roll out of new technologies, more than a third (35%) said they are generally reluctant to embrace them, with the majority (55%) saying that it can cause problems if the rollout isn’t carefully handled. With field service teams feeling apprehensive about technology developments, it’s necessary to look at where organisations are lacking to make them feel this way.
Where do employers fall down?
One of the reasons for this apprehension may be due to a lack of support from the business during roll out, with 41% of those surveyed saying that they don’t feel they’re given enough help and support when they’re told to start using a new piece of technology or digital solution. Because of this, 32% of field workers also told us that they often struggle to learn how to use new technologies.
Employers may not realise the impact that a lack of attention is having on employee morale, but our research also suggests that the technologies used may not be having the desired impact on business operations. If this is the case, any steps taken towards digital transformation within field service will be less effective than they should be.
Worryingly, this does seem to be the case for a number of businesses, with only 28% of field workers saying that technology enhances their day-to-day life, with one in ten (10%) even saying that it prevents them from doing their job to the best of their ability.
Although two of the key benefits of adapting the workplace with new technologies are productivity and efficiency gains, less than half (44%) of field workers have experienced efficiency benefits, while 36% believe that productivity gains are absent.
What can employers learn?
The good thing is that only 7% of field workers think that the traditional way of working is more effective. As 45% of respondents said that they appreciate the benefits of new technologies, this suggests that if companies take the concerns of the workforce on board and begin to implement the right tools, the situation could be improved. With strong support and guidance from elsewhere in the business, both field workers and managers can enjoy the true benefits of digital transformation.