By Heidi J. Ellsworth.
In today’s world, we have almost everything on our phone. The weather, email, text, airplane tickets or sports results, every day we are more reliant on our smartphone. In honesty, they are not that different from a toolkit or briefcase. They hold all the tools and information that we may need. The problem is that we are still learning how to work with them. Finding a balance so that we do not become distracted or place ourselves and others in danger.
It is time to start looking at how we use the tools of technology. We cannot just ignore the growing reality that we will use our smart phones as a primary tool, but we also cannot let the technology control us. On the roof, several cloud-based software tools rely on either a phone or a tablet up on the roof. And it is not just project management software, but manufacturers have their specs online, they have warranty information and we all use Google when we need to understand something a little bit better.
So, what is the balance? Like anything it is training and education. When is it appropriate to use a mobile device on the roof and when is it not appropriate? As with anything there is personal and professional time. When do we know if employees are “playing” on their phones or using them for the job.
Training and education on how and when also intertwines with culture. The culture of the company needs to extend to the culture of the roof. A culture of respect that goes both ways will set expectations that work time is for work. There will not be a question of whether employees are “playing on the phone” or using them irresponsibly, but it will be expected that it is being used as a roofing and communication tool through out the company; from the office to the roof top and back.
Technology and smart phones are not going to go away. Progressively understanding how to safely incorporate them on the roof and in overall training can provide an advantage for the company when it comes to faster communications and higher productivity due to having the right tools at your employee’s fingertips. By utilizing mobile devices to document, understand and communicate effectively from the jobsite, more good than bad will arise as it would with any tool.
Heidi Ellsworth is owner of HJE Consulting Group and a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com. See her full bio here.