There are many different ways available to learn something new, from reading and listening to watching other, but true learning comes from doing something oneself. Research shows that about 90% of knowledge is gained through hands-on interaction. That’s not always easy in workplace training situations, where there is little time for learning curves.
Start with the Familiar
There’s a good chance the answer to challenges regarding the optimization of a business are resting in management’s pockets right now. There is so much new software, applications, and technology coming onto the market every day that it can be difficult to stay on top of the best options for a company at any given time. For this reason, it may be easier to start with technology we are all already familiar with: smartphones.
There’s a good chance the answer to challenges regarding the optimization of a business are resting in management’s pockets right now.
The cost of smartphones and tablets has gotten so low that it’s now possible, and in most cases necessary, to equip each employee with a smart device. There are also a staggering number of applications available for businesses, with a few in particular that employees can get up to speed on fairly quickly. Also, if anyone has a question regarding that app, remember that there’s almost certainly YouTube tutorials available to explain usage, tips and tricks, as well as reviews regarding its efficacy.
- Location Tracking. If a business includes travel and off-site work for either employer or employee, there’s a real need to know where a company’s people are. GPS tracking apps are the perfect solution. With features like geofencing, which triggers actions when devices enter a specified location, it is possible to use GPS technology to then utilize a whole host of apps that are specific to a virtual boundary. This is also a great way to track exact mileage if there is a need to tabulate driving distances for expense reports.
- Time Tracking. When an app is monitoring location and time, that data can then automatically go into payroll management, scheduling, and a whole lot more. With apps like Timesheet Mobile, the moment an employee enters a specified location, the clock starts. It is possible to set the app to notify management every time an employee enters and exits a zone, and it can also easily monitor jobs from afar. With a little practice, everyone will be clocking their hours via their smartphone in no time.
- Increase Productivity. If a business requires employees to complete a series of tasks, there are lots of great options to keep them all in order. Apps like Trello, TeamViewer, and Wunderlist put to-do lists into simple, manageable formats. It becomes easy through the use of these apps to keep everyone on the team up to speed on what’s been done, and then management will also be able to receive notifications when something hasn’t been completed. Other apps like DeskTime are also able to take productivity data and provide productivity analysis, offering insight into how to best optimize a workforce.
- All-in-One Apps. Some apps like Hubstaff and Tsheets not only monitor location and time, but also integrate that information with dozens of other applications, such as payroll software, automatic billing, and apps to generate monthly or annual reports.
WhatsApp for Business
An app that deserves special mention, and one most everyone knows, is WhatsApp. Chances are team members already use it to text about everything from shopping lists and outings to opinions on the ending of Game of Thrones. For those clients who expect the same level of connectivity, integrating WhatsApp into a business should require very little training for staff.
While some businesses can simply rely on the standard app, WhatsApp Business adds some features most small businesses find useful. Beyond basic messaging, the app also allows companies to schedule reminders for appointments, post videos to demonstrate services, and conduct customer surveys. The app also allows a company to maintain a database of customers and update them on the latest offers and services through one group text. Furthermore, the recent addition of the catalog feature on WhatsApp Business allows for a mobile storefront that lets a company showcase products and services to its customer database. Catalog listings show pricing, images, and descriptions to new and existing clients, with links to the company website for further user engagement.
Engaged Employees Are Happy Employees
It’s a fact that humans like recognition, from the joy of Facebook likes to receiving Employee of the Month honors, people swell with pride when they’re recognized. A chemical reaction occurs inside the brain when a mini dose of dopamine is released as a person receives a reward. Training provides the perfect opportunity to meet this need, as it’s common to reward employees with certificates, grades, or new responsibilities after they’ve mastered a skill.
Since there is so much to learn in regard to new tech on the market, supporting and acknowledging employees who seek outside trainings on new technologies can incentivize those employees to learn and grow while also obtaining valuable professional skills. These employees can then bring these skills back to the office and teach others as to how that tech can be used to accelerate and optimize workflow.
Robots Are Cleaning Floors More and More
A relatively low-cost way to get in on the robotics trend is through the use of autonomous sweepers, which can easily cover expansive spaces provided that humans set them up correctly. For both indoor and outdoor applications, these self-driving machines range from the small retail units that have been cleaning home carpets for years to large units with brushes that have the ability to pick up trash and stones.
The roving robots of today are also able to mop floors. Furthermore, they are able to connect and communicate with autonomous sweepers, as long as staff are trained in these systems. For example, once the sweeping unit has covered an area, it can automatically send a signal to the mopping robot that it’s time to finish the job.
These machines vary in size to match tasks at hand, such as a robot about the size of a pizza box for small jobs or robots that can fit a human passenger for larger jobs (much like a riding lawnmower). These larger robots also allow their passengers to flip to manual control as necessary.
Go on Location and Do the Real Thing
YouTube tutorials, discussions of smartphone apps, and even small-scale robotics indoors are all great. But there’s nothing like getting outside for group cohesion and some serious hands-on learning. Taking the team outside to enjoy some fresh air and learn how to use and operate robotic window cleaners, for example, can be the best way to get everyone acquainted with the highest standards of use for that equipment.
Today, modern robotic window cleaners are scaling high rises more and more.
Although brave height-defying cleaners have boarded suspended scaffolding with their squeegees, chamois, scrims, and buckets of cleaning solution for generations, hoisting people up to terrifying heights is a dangerous and time-consuming business. Today, modern robotic window cleaners are scaling high rises more and more. Like floor cleaners, these high-tech wonders use sensors to “feel” their way across surfaces to determine the most efficient method of cleaning. Smaller models, aimed at the residential market, generally use a combination of suction and magnets to keep the robots aloft. For industrial applications, there’s usually a cable system that guides the robot up and down the towering faces of glass buildings.
Sure, it’ll be a few years before humanoid robots with mops clutched in their polycarbonate hands are common sights. We’ll just have to wait for total automation. But in the meantime, there’s some great technology available right now to give businesses a high-tech boost. All it takes is some imagination and a little training.
By Adon T. Rigg, Creator, Revenue Production Marketing (RMP) and Founder, Janitorial Marketing Solutions