Transition into Working Remotely
The transition to working remotely was surely a challenge for us all. Many companies never imagined that such upheaval was possible or feasible. We have seen a lot of emphasis on the ways employers can support their staff who are now working remotely. Recruitment Plus has tried to provide their own expert advice on the topic.
What we have seen to be lacking is advice for field-based workers and how they can cope with the complete change of their routine, environment and work process. Those working in field sales have had to make some challenging adjustments this year.
You can support your employees in many ways as they settle into their new role. We also have a helpful checklist for employees making this transition, which can be found at the end of this article.
Exercise understanding and empathy with your employees. They are most likely trying to navigate their new position. Often those working in field sales are most comfortable working on their feet. They enjoy a face-to-face conversation. They often thrive in this environment and are motivated by meeting new people and having real communication. Giving some well-needed grace at this difficult time will show that you understand what they are going through and are there to support them.
Remember that your field-based workers are not used to sitting still at a desk for the duration of their workday. This alone will take some getting used to. Find a way to support them through that.
Your inhouse and field-worker employees will likely have completely different processes and use different systems. It is important to take the needed time to train your employees so that they are equipped to achieve their work goals. Schedule in a Zoom training meeting with them or ask tech support to organise a call. Walk them through any CRMs, company applications and any other piece of tech they wouldn’t be privy to using in field sales.
Why not assign an experienced “work buddy” to each employee? It may prove comforting and reassuring to have someone they can ask questions of or voice any concerns to, that isn’t management.
Phone Etiquette / Change in Sales Style
Field-workers are used to using eye-contact and body language to engage with customers. It will be a huge adjustment for them to translate what they know and how they communicate into only phone communication. Give them time to adapt and provide support in any way you can by providing scripts and have them listen to calls by other employees.
Field-workers aren’t used to having colleagues in the same sense as office workers. Introduce them to the team and provide all relevant information about how they can contact members of the team and if they use any system to communicate such a Slack.
It is important to understand and remember not to assume they’ll know something. They will in many respects need to be considered as a brand new employee. Check through your protocol for onboarding to see if there are any areas that apply.
It is not uncommon that a lot of field workers will have a diary which is predetermined before they begin their day. However, this rigid schedule isn’t always feasible as the fieldworker will be at the mercy of the client’s time (or lack of). Regularly these interactions and sales calls will take place in an impromptu manner and will often be conducted whilst walking and talking. This is particularly true for medical and healthcare representatives who are relying on engaging with their clients when they have a couple of minutes to spare.
Desk salespeople work in an entirely different fashion. These appointments are transferred to Zoom or phone calls which will open up new challenges for the sales representatives. Therefore an evaluation of call rates may be needed by employers to take this into consideration.
Showing compassion and understanding will not only have positive effects on your employee’s health and overall morale, but it will also help with retaining staff in the long-term. Here is a useful checklist that can be passed onto your staff to further support them in this transition.