How to Effectively Manage a Remote Landscaping Design Workforce
By now, the concept of working remotely isn’t new. Over the last two years, most people have had to do their job from their homes after the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to close their offices. Moving remote was a challenge for many, especially those who prefer the face-to-face interaction of the office.
The landscaping industry was no exception, as in-office staff were sent home to work at kitchen tables and make-shift offices until it was safe to return to work. At first, it may have seemed out of place for landscapers to be at home. But like many businesses, some thrived in their new environment.
Remote working is fueling the landscaping industry from the work perspective, as more people are working from home or a mix of both, better known as a hybrid work model. This has pushed many outside the major cities as they look to get out of major urban areas and into the suburbs.
With fewer travel expenses, household incomes have increased, and landscaping is one particular area that is seeing a rise in revenue because of this trend. 87% of large US companies adopted some form of hybrid work, while 82% of US cities saw more outflow to the suburbs in 2021, primarily because of the remote work atmosphere that many businesses offered.
As businesses reopened, however, landscapers returned to work, even when many of their customers didn’t. So even though remote workers were fueling their industry, many companies returned to pre-pandemic office life. Landscapers can benefit from moving remote or to a hybrid workforce, especially in times of high inflation or recession.
Increase the happiness of your employees
Sitting in traffic, rushing out of the house, and being in an office all day isn’t appealing to many people anymore after years of working from home. So while some companies continue to embrace remote work, many others have urged employees to return. A recent study of over 12,000 respondents found that the ability to work remotely increases employee happiness by as much as 20%.
It should be no surprise that happiness decreases as commute times increase. Not to mention as gas prices rise, with fuel costs increasing by 50% in the past year, employees are spending more money to get to work when they would rather be at home.
Landscaping owners should care deeply about their employees’ happiness, especially those in the office setting all day and not in the field. It’s one of the better retention tools in an industry that is constantly hunting to find new employees. As the survey found, millennials are happiest when they are working from home, so if designers, accountants, dispatchers, and salespeople have the option to work remotely, it can help increase retention rates and find new employees.
Technology has made connecting with other office workers, suppliers, and customers easier via video chats, text messages, and applications like Zoom. In addition, cloud-based software solutions for landscaping maintenance and job management like DynaScape’s Manage360 enable teams to work remotely without missing information. While the investment needs to be made in software solutions, it pays off in employee happiness, retention rates, and better quality new hires. You may even be able to hire someone for specific jobs who aren’t in your location but perhaps across the country because you have remote tools available.
Reduce the cost of office space
Depending on your landscaping business, you will still need space or property to store equipment and supplies. On top of that, your office needs an actual working area, be it offices, cubicles, or desks for your employees to work at. It can be challenging to find both in the same location at a price that isn’t chewing up your bottom line on every job.
Recently, social media giant Twitter downsized their offices or closed them in San Francisco and New York with a push toward working remotely. This cost-cutting exercise was made possible because of remote working setups that even landscapers can take advantage of themselves.
Moving your office staff remote reduces the office space you need, and you can look for a warehouse location to house all your equipment and supplies. That requires fewer utilities, space for people, washroom facilities, air conditioning and heating, and other expenses associated with a building.
As prices increase in real estate, taking your company out of the real estate game by moving remote takes a considerable chunk out of your expense line. While some will say it hurts company culture and collaboration, many companies have found ways around those with technology while also increasing their efforts for cultural activities as a company.
The tools are available to work remotely now
Perhaps the most significant use case for working remotely is that tools are simply available for people to do their jobs. Landscape designers can collaborate together, as can those in management through the use of cloud-based landscaping software programs.
Manage360 is a cloud-based landscaping management software that can be accessed from any location. So owners and staff can work from any city they wish to live in and still collaborate and use the same data as they would in an office. The benefits of cloud-based software are amplified when you move remotely. That includes:
- Removal of paper-based estimates, invoices, and contracts
- Real-time crew schedules
- Complete list of customers, contracts, and ongoing projects without the need for a filing system
Whether in an office or letting your employees work from home, cloud-based landscaping software streamlines all the processes, paper, and information in your business. It’s accessible from any browser and reduces the need for space, be it the filing cabinets you need to house the paperwork or the staff in the office building.
While remote work isn’t for everyone and every business, Manage360 gives you the option to provide your employees with the choice to work from home, work a hybrid model, or be in the office and remain fully connected to the business. There is a case to be made that remote working is the future of the landscaping industry. Still, you’ll need the tools to make it work, so you maintain communication and collaboration between your workers and customers.
If you are thinking of moving your landscaping business remote, contact DynaScape to see how our Manage360 landscaping software can help you.