Do you struggle when it comes to managing the schedules of your engineers? This is a common problem for engineering managers, especially when you have a large team and must be able to balance both scheduled and reactive work. This means that managing schedules can often feel a lot like spinning plates, and you will want to ensure that your engineers are kept busy but also are not overburdened. Fortunately, there are a few methods that you can use to better control engineer schedules so that you can keep on top of work, keep customers happy and ensure that your engineers have a manageable workload at all times. Read on to find out more.
Establish Capacity For Week
Before you do anything else, you always need to take the time to establish the total capacity for work in a week. It will be impossible to schedule work for your engineers if you are not sure how much each individual team member and the team can take on each week. Therefore, you need to know how many people you have working, what their contracted hours are, and how much work they are able to take on. This means that communication is key, and it needs to be easy for your team to come forward if they have any problems or are unable to work for one reason or another.
It is also helpful to look at what the scheduled work is for the week and prioritize it. This ensures that any urgent work is carried out as soon as possible, which will be key for keeping your customers happy. Of course, there may be reactive work that emerges during the week, and this can be managed with the use of software (more on this later).
Match Task To Skill
It is also a good idea to match the task to the skill where possible. Your engineering team will be built up of those with a varied skill set, and it is likely that there will be those that are better at some tasks than others, whether this is maintenance or urgent repairs. This is why every manager needs to know the strengths and weaknesses of their team so that they can match the task to skill – this will also be helpful in terms of helping staff to feel important and valued in their position.
Ensure Learning & Development Is Factored In
While it is a good idea to match the task to skill, you also want to make sure that you integrate learning and development into the schedule for your engineers. Most engineers will be ambitious and want to learn new skills so that they can climb the ladder. This is why you need to ensure that your engineers also have the capacity to learn and develop on the job by giving them role variety. Additionally, new engineers could work alongside or shadow more experienced engineers to learn the ropes and develop key skills.
Use Resource Scheduling Software
Resource scheduling is highly complex, especially when you have a large team and many tasks to complete throughout the week, with the potential for urgent repairs needing to be fit in. Resource scheduling software from specialists like Service Geeni can make creating and maintaining schedules for your engineers a lot easier and should help you to keep on top of everything. You can use scheduling tools that can help you to create the most efficient schedule based on the importance of the job, the location of your engineers, and their schedule. You can use a simple drag-and-drop tool that will automatically update the schedule for your team so that everyone is on the same page and knows what tasks need to be completed each day. If emergency jobs arise, you can assign the nearest engineers and adjust their schedule to ensure that your customers are always left satisfied.
Review & Check Throughout The Week
Of course, things do not always go to plan, and it is important that you get into the habit of reviewing and checking the schedule throughout the week. This will help you to see if you have any engineers that are struggling and in need of help so that you can reassign tasks to keep the schedule on track.
Maintain Close Communication With Your Team
It is also important to maintain close communication with your team throughout the week. You need to check in to see how they are doing and if they need any support, as well as make sure that it is easy for them to contact you if they are struggling to keep up or if they are unable to make it to work. You can then adjust the schedule as needed to keep things running smoothly. While close communication is important for maintaining a schedule, you also need to avoid micromanaging your team and ensure that they are able to get on with their work each day. You can use mobile engineer locator tools to keep track of your mobile workforce so that you can see if they are where they are supposed to be at all times without checking in, as well as respond effectively to urgent reactive calls by assigning the closest engineer.
Keep Your Team Motivated
Finally, you need to keep your team motivated. In order to maximize the amount of work completed each week and keep productivity levels high, you need to know how to keep your team motivated. This will include setting goals with rewards, positive feedback, and career development opportunities. You also need to set a workload that is manageable so that your team can get job satisfaction and prevent burnout. Employee wellbeing needs to be a priority so that you can keep your team happy, healthy, and engaged at work so that they can take on as much work as possible and prove a high-quality service for your customers.
Hopefully, the advice in this post will prove to be useful and help you to control your engineer’s schedule better and ensure that your team operates at a high level each week.