Remote working has become increasingly common in today's workplace, driven by several factors, not least of which was the pandemic. But while there are many advantages associated with remote work — more flexibility, work-life balance, enhanced productivity — organizations that have adopted a remote or hybrid working model face unique challenges to monitor and manage their workforce effectively. This can be especially pertinent in the behavioral health and human services industry.
Let’s examine how mobile workforce management solutions address these problems and how they can help behavioral health leaders support their employees and promote quality patient care.
Remote Working Challenges
Remote and hybrid working are terms often used interchangeably, but there is some distinction between the two. A remote worker is someone who is not stationed in an office, at a desk, or onsite. This could be a field worker who travels to different places or works from home. A hybrid worker is someone who works from the office and also spends time at home working remotely.
For non-patient-facing staff, remote and hybrid working arrangements can be highly effective for behavioral health and human service organizations. According to a recent remote trend survey, organizations that have implemented remote-hybrid work have reduced employee turnover rates and increased employee satisfaction and productivity. While there are benefits to a remote or hybrid working arrangement, there are also challenges.
Some of these challenges include:
Risk of compliance breaches due to accessing records from restricted zones.
Security risks that arise when employees need to access sensitive information over the internet (in this case, a lack of secure and HIPAA-compliant access to medical records).
Maintaining the required levels of supervision and support while working remotely — challenges can arise when remote employees are not under direct supervision.
It can be harder to track progress on projects since employees aren’t using the same workspace.
Using multiple methods of communication can be distracting and inefficient.
Networking performance can also be adversely affected, as remote workers may find it difficult to build rapport with colleagues because of fewer face-to-face communication opportunities.
What Is a Mobile Workforce Management Solution?
A mobile workforce management (MWM) solution is a vital component of human capital management systems. This software as a service (SaaS) allows you to manage and track the progress of your workforce. You can use these solutions for a variety of purposes to increase productivity, streamline processes, and provide business intelligence.
A mobile workforce management solution enables informed decision-making. It allows workers to make the best decisions regardless of their location by giving them access to valuable information in real-time.
For example, employees can clock in and out in real-time from wherever they’re working, and managers can be notified if any employees are approaching overtime, helping to better track and manage time. Mobile workforce management solutions provide tools to help organizations manage their employees' schedules, track employee time, and record mobile working (time tracking for remote or mobile workers).
Benefits of Mobile Workforce Management Solutions
The behavioral health workforce is often split between regular employees, who report to a single location each day, and field employees (such as case managers and social workers) assigned to multiple locations on a daily or weekly basis.
Workforce management solutions simplify the complexities of field service management and remote work challenges. By implementing a mobile strategy, you can leverage the benefits of mobility to improve your organization's overall employee experience. The following are some key instances of how mobile workforce management solutions benefit an organization.
Flexibility and Employee Satisfaction
Employees can benefit from mobile workforce management systems as they are no longer tied down to a desk or long commutes. Workforce management includes shift scheduling functionality. Shift-scheduling helps managers plan shifts so that they assign each worker to a shift that best fits their needs.
Also, studies show remote workers are happier about their jobs than those who don't feel like they have control over how they do their jobs or where they do them from; this leads directly to better performance among staff members in an organization.
Security and Accessibility
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal statute that was enacted in 1996 to protect the privacy of patients’ medical records and other health information. Behavioral health organizations are required to be HIPAA compliant, both to protect clients’ private information and to prevent any violations that could result in heavy fines.
The most common violation of HIPAA is the unintentional disclosure of protected health information (PHI). While unintended disclosure of this information does not always make up a violation of HIPAA, it can still cause harm to individuals and organizations. Therefore, it’s essential for behavioral health organizations to ensure that their employees know how to handle PHI appropriately. Mobile workforce management solutions allow employees to have secure mobile access to patient data.
Mobile workforce management solutions improve employee engagement. Employee engagement focuses on rewarding employees for their work performance to increase overall satisfaction and productivity. Also, it's difficult to get employees to feel engaged in their jobs if they cannot do their work effectively or efficiently. But by providing the tools and features needed for employees to send and respond to communications, employees can stay connected and productive anytime, anywhere.
Eliminates Inefficiencies in Employee Management
Because many behavioral health professionals need to travel between facilities and patient homes regularly, it’s crucial to have mobile workforce management systems in place. These solutions make scheduling and time tracking more manageable so that employees can stay focused on high-quality patient outcomes.
Mobile workforce management works well for both employers and employees. Employees can do their jobs better as they have access to important documents, while managers can track progress and monitor performance using timesheets and talent management functionalities.
Best Strategies for Rolling Out Mobile Workforce Management Solutions
To get started, you want to find a service provider that understands the unique needs of your industry and has experience helping similar organizations successfully implement mobile-first solutions.
Here are steps to implementing a workforce management solution:
- Establish Your Business Case: Begin by developing a strategy that's appropriate for your organization, workforce, and business needs.
- Define Implementation Scope: Identify and plan the best migration path for your workforce. Will you be using existing hardware or will new devices be required? How many users need to be migrated? Can you migrate all at once, or can it go in phases? What kind of support is available from IT personnel or other staff if problems arise during the transition?
- Choose the Right Technology: The right technology solutions can help you create the digital infrastructure to support a remote workforce, as well as ensure HIPAA compliance and manage the complex regulations of behavioral health. As more states pass telehealth parity laws — which allow insurance providers to reimburse for telehealth services — it’s just a matter of time before telehealth becomes mainstream in behavioral health and human services.
- Create a Plan to Support and Train Employees: Determine how much time you need for training and what type of training is most effective based on the needs of users within different departments. This also covers who should provide initial training (IT department), refresher courses (supervisors), ongoing support (customer service), and any other roles that require specific knowledge about mobile technology use in behavioral health workflows.
A Solution That Works For You and Your Teams
As the face of behavioral health and human services organizations changes, so do the demands placed on them. Whether it's a new client, a new facility, or a new program, technology streamlines operations and also provides better quality care.
Whether you’re looking to manage remote employees, mobile workers or mobile teams, ContinuumCloud's HCM solution can help you achieve your goals using mobile workforce management functionalities, including:
Real-Time Communication: The mobile app is designed to enable the sharing of company news, building on communication tools that include video conferencing features and one-on-one messaging that allows for real-time collaboration without having to wait for email responses from colleagues. This is important because it helps prevent any kind of communication gap between home and work locations.
Data Compliance: Many organizations, especially those in the human services industry, have strict regulations about where their employees can be when accessing client records or working on confidential projects. ContinuumCloud’s HCM solution solves the problem of compliance breaches with mobile apps that allow employees to clock in and out in the field from safe and approved zones. ContinuumCloud's mobile app allows organizations to keep track of what devices their employees are using while they're on the job and where they're performing those jobs, so they can make sure that employees only have access to protected health information when it's appropriate.
Time Tracking: With ContinuumCloud, it’s easy to track working hours accurately. Plus, geo-fencing and IP restrictions allow employees to clock in and out from approved locations using the mobile app (Android and iOS operating system compatible) on their smartphone. This allows them to report hours worked even when they’re not present at the facility.
Position Control: This system tracks information based on positions rather than individual employees. Position Control makes managing employee eligibility benefits easier. For instance, it automates calculations for shift differentials, overtime, and regular payment, as well as other complex pay scenarios, allowing you to ensure accurate payroll and focus on more rewarding tasks.
Onboarding Support: ContinuumCloud offers a mobile app that allows people to learn and easily adapt to the platform. We also work closely with you to create a customized implementation plan that takes your unique needs into account, providing full on-site support when implementing our HCM solution into your organization’s processes.
Get Started With ContinuumCloud’s Workforce Management Solution
Workforce management is one of the best ways to create a robust framework for effectively managing your employees and their workloads. By deploying mobile workforce management technology, you can easily keep track of all your remote or mobile workers.
These systems make it easier to ensure that your team remains compliant to secure data policies and standards, even when they’re not within the healthcare facility. Understanding these benefits of workforce management solutions and integrating the technology within your organization can have a big impact on employee performance, productivity, and success.
ContinuumCloud’s mobile workforce management solution helps you track staff schedules and shift times, and oversee job performance. You can track your staff's performance right from your web-enabled device and ensure they always comply with your policies and procedures. Contact us today to learn how our HCM solution can help you achieve a more efficient workforce to better serve your patients.