FieldAware's Response To COVID-19
As global health and events are developing quickly, FieldAware will use this page to provide updates on how our team and company is responding to the changes at hand.
We continue to maintain our focus on our customers and we will maintain regular business operations and hours of service as usual. We are reiterating public health authorities’ guidance for safety and protocols in the event a workforce member finds that they have symptoms.
In compliance with many of our jurisdictions around the world and for the safety of our team members, we have implemented a work-from-home policy until further notice for all employees, contractors and partners. We have strong and tested processes and procedures in place for our workforce to work remotely without impacting how they support the operations of our products and services. We will continue to provide world-class customer service and support throughout this crisis.
All non-essential work travel has been discontinued and we are constantly working closely with our customers and partners to find alternative means of collaboration.
For any upcoming events, FieldAware has opted to move these to online virtual experiences unless they have been rescheduled for later dates when the safety of our team members is no longer a concern.
Hiring and Candidate Experience
FieldAware is currently hiring for open positions globally and we are adapting our recruiting, screening and onboarding processes to become as fully virtual as possible.
Who should I contact if I have questions or require additional information?
Customer should contact their dedicated Customer Success Manager with any questions, concerns or requests for more information. Open and transparent communication is critical to our mutual success during these challenging times.
How can I set up different working hours for my Field Service Technicians so that I can better support my customers?
In the User list, Bulk Update Working Hours Exceptions, in order to create temporary shifts for Technicians and Customers affected by Covid-19.
- Identify which Technicians you want to work what hours per day and days per week. You may also wish to identify new overtime requirements you may have.
- Select all the Technicians that you would like to work the same Working Hours via the Registered Users list.
- Select the Bulk ‘New Working Hours Exceptions’ option from the top of the Users list and set the new Working Hours and Overtime for your Technicians.
- For other working hours select a different group of resources and repeat step 2 as needed.
- Using this exceptions capability, you can set up rotating or swing shifts where field resources work your defined hours in a shift pattern.
Outcome: Once completed, the technicians’ new working hours and overtime will appear as gray shading in the Scheduler.
Warning: If you maintain your employee availability in an external system and update FieldAware via the API it is recommended that you continue to use that external capability to set your new working patterns in this area to avoid any conflicts in the systems.
How can I minimize the risk of scheduling work to vulnerable field technicians who should be either remaining at home or only going on service calls where there should be limited chance of encountering other people?
Use Location Permits to match certain Technicians with certain Locations. Bulk Updates on the Users and Locations lists allow you to select and update a bulk of system records with just a few clicks.
- Define a new Permit in the Company Settings with a name that your organization will recognize as customer or site locations where vulnerable field technicians should not be sent, such as General Site Permit or Public Site Permit.
- Identify all the Locations where vulnerable field technicians should not work in the Locations List and use the Bulk Update Permits tool to assign them the new Permit requirement (i.e. Public Site Permit).
- Select all Technicians in the Users List that are NOT vulnerable workers, who can service the Locations from Step 2. Using the Bulk Update Permits tool in the Users list, assign them with the matching new Permit (i.e. Public Site Permit).
Once completed this configuration will prevent vulnerable Technicians being scheduled to work at a Location that you have designated as being not suitable unless someone overrules the system warnings.
Work allocation experience:
When using Smart Scheduler, the FA Optimizer will not assign a vulnerable Technician to work at Locations that you have designated as unsuitable as these Technicians do not have the required Permit (i.e. Public Site Permit).
When Dispatchers are using Scheduling Rules in the Scheduler view to drag and drop work to Technicians, vulnerable Technicians will not be highlighted as suitable candidates for this work and if Dispatcher hovers over a vulnerable Technician a warning indicator will state that they don’t have the prerequisite Permit along with any other requirements. If the Dispatcher does try to allocate the job at that Location to a vulnerable Technician, then a warning message is displayed clearly stating the Permit violation plus any other requirements. The Dispatcher must then acknowledge that they are overriding the warning in order to assign the job to a vulnerable Technician.
When allocating the job within the Job page, vulnerable Technicians will not be shown as suitable candidates as they lack the required Permit. If a vulnerable technician is selected, then a warning message indicating that the Permit is not present along with any other required capability gaps. The job can only be assigned to a vulnerable Technician if the Dispatcher acknowledges that they are overriding the rule.
Jobs that are being scheduled for Locations that do not have the new Permit (i.e. Public Site Permit) will be assigned to vulnerable and standard Technicians based on the normal criteria. If you want these other Locations to be serviced just by vulnerable Technicians, then you need to follow the process in this FAQ but this time defining a different Permit such as Isolated Locations Permit and assigning it to your selected locations or sites and vulnerable field technicians.
How do I NOT schedule Jobs at customer Locations that are closed due to the Corona Virus?
You can use the Location Permits feature to ensure you do not schedule jobs at Locations closed due to Covid-19. By creating a Location Permit for Covid-19 closures, and applying that Permit to all affected Locations without granting the same permit to any Technician, you will be warned in the Scheduler view and the Job page when you attempt to assign any Technician to a Job at that Location. The warning will tell you that the Technician does not hold the Covid-19 permit and therefore should not be assigned.
- Define a new Permit with a name that your organization will recognize as indicating the customer Location is closed, such as ‘Covid-19 Closure’.
- Identify the affected Locations in the Locations list, and either Bulk Update Permits against affected Locations via the list view, or individually on the individual Location page.
Tip: If you have many locations to update with this permit, it might be worth creating a dedicated location custom field to facilitate this process:
- create a checkbox location custom field such as ‘Covid-19 closure?’ in settings -> Custom Fields.
- Again in settings -> import/export, export all locations.
- Then in Excel under the new column ‘Covid-19 closure?’ you can enter in Yes for the relevant location rows.
- Import this location CSV to update the locations in FieldAware.
- Now you can open the Location list in FieldAware and add a filter ‘Covid-19 closure?’ is Yes.
- Finally you can increase the page size to 100, multi select all the locations and bulk apply the permit.
- Do not apply this new Permit to any Technicians.
Optional: To remove jobs for these closed sites from the unassigned queue
- In the Jobs list, filter all Jobs at Locations holding the new Permit, and use the Bulk Assign option to set the job lead to ‘Unassigned’ to remove these jobs from the schedule and mobile devices.
Once completed this configuration will prevent you from scheduling Jobs to a location that you have recorded as being closed unless the scheduler overrules the system warnings.
Work allocation experience:
When using Smart Scheduler, the optimizer will not assign jobs at sites with a new Permit (i.e. Site Closed Permit) unless any Technicians have been assigned this permit.
If jobs with the new Permit (i.e. Covid-19 closure) have been filtered from the unassigned queue, then dispatchers will not see them when they are selecting work to be scheduled in the Scheduler view or Job page.
How can I Pause a Job with clear visibility for rescheduling, when a customer at their location is in self isolation and we cannot deliver the service until a future date?
To complement the standard Pause Job functionality, you can set up a Pause Job reason to enhance reportability. With this categorization, you can handle a group of jobs with a specific pause reason together, while ignoring the noise of other more mundane pause reasons.
- Create custom field(s) to enable operational reports:
- One with a drop down of the pause reason(s) you want to capture. E.g. ‘Customer in self isolation’, ‘Non-essential business closed’, ‘Missing parts’, ...
- (Optionally) a second custom field of type date, either the date on which the job was paused, or the projected date if available of when the job may be able to restart.
- (Optionally) a third custom field of type checkBox which you can use to identify: ‘Customer ready for rescheduling’
- Capture extra data: the person who pauses the job should add the additional field(s) to the job and set the value(s), e.g. choose a paused reason.
- (Optionally) Unassign the jobs: The office can filter the job list by this custom field and unassign the job so it will re-appear in the scheduler unassigned list going forward by choosing the bulk ‘Assign’ action at the top of the list.
- Monitor/ report: You can setup and save a view in the job list which displays Paused jobs, the paused reason, and we can optionally sort this list ascending by either the original scheduled date or the custom date field created.
- Use the above list to proactively reschedule jobs when restrictions are lifted/ when isolation periods end/ when businesses re-open. (optionally) Create a scheduler unassigned list filter which displays the paused reason, the customer/ location and is filtered to only include jobs which are ‘Customer ready for rescheduling’ = true to guide rescheduling of these jobs.
- When the technician eventually goes out to resume the job, they will still be able to see the paused reason custom field as a reminder of why the job was originally delayed.
Once completed your team can record the Paused Job reasons in a consistent way, you can filter the jobs list to identify all jobs that are paused and see at a glance the reason for this. Once the customer is out of self-isolation you can reschedule that Job.
- Create custom field(s) to enable operational reports:
How can I track Technician Unavailability due to illness, isolation or caring for a family member?
You can use the Unavailability feature in FieldAware to track Technician downtime due to Covid-19, amongst other types of Unavailability.
- In the Scheduler tab of Company Settings, create new Unavailability types to track the different types of Unavailability affecting your technicians. Be sure to use different colours and icons so you can differentiate between the different causes of Unavailability.
- In the Scheduler view, either right click the Technician row on the Scheduler Gantt chart and select ‘Schedule Unavailability’, or alternatively use the drop down next to the ‘New’ button in the dark horizontal menu bar to create Unavailability for any Technician.
- Select the period the Unavailability will last. You can use the ‘All Day’ checkbox for Unavailability that lasts one or more full workdays.
- A graphical representation of the technician’s Unavailability will now be displayed on the Scheduler Gantt chart.
- For smart-scheduler customers, the FieldAware Optimizer will not schedule jobs for technicians during this Unavailable Time.
Can I schedule work for technicians who are self-isolating and cannot visit customer sites, but are still able to work?
Yes, if you have work that can be carried out via phone or video call – for example troubleshooting or diagnostic work - you can use FieldAware to assign remote work to self-isolating technicians. You can do this using a Scheduler Saved View that displays only remote jobs and eligible technicians.
The first step is to designate jobs that can be done remotely. Do this by creating a Job Custom Field named “Remote Job”. We recommend using a CheckBox custom field type. Set the Default Value as appropriate for your situation - if you expect the majority of jobs to be done remotely, select the Default Value checkbox; if you expect the majority of jobs to be carried out in the field as normal, leave the Default Value checkbox deselected.
For new and pre-existing scheduled jobs, set the custom field “Remote Job” to be True or False as appropriate. You can now use the Scheduler filters to view and manage remote work.
In the Scheduler Filter Panel, select technicians who will be carrying out remote work. Then, using the Unassigned List filters, filter by “Remote Job is True”. Dispatchers can now be confident that they are assigning appropriate work to self-isolating technicians.
Tips and Tricks
Remove remote workers from other Saved Views
If you are managing self-isolating technicians using the above approach, don’t forget to remove those technicians from other views so that they are not assigned work in error.
Relax Policy Rules for remote work
Scheduling Policy rules such as Service Areas and Location Permits may no longer be applicable when carrying out remote work, so to simplify the workflow, these can be disabled in the Scheduling Policy settings.
Smart Scheduler is designed to optimize travel time, and therefore is not compatible with remote work as travel is not required. It is recommended not to include remote jobs when optimizing via the Smart Scheduler. Filter out jobs where ‘remote job’ = No before selecting jobs for Smart Scheduling.
Up-to-date Global COVID-19 Statistics
Visualized by our technology & solution partner DOMO (To view the page directly - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker)
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