What do art and literature have to do with field workforce management?
I know, I know. Most managers and executives will say that art and literature have nothing to do with their business objectives, that those topics should be discussed outside the workplace. But let’s take a look at art and literature from a slightly different perspective.
Stick with me here for a moment
I like and appreciate a good book. Regardless of whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, a book tells a story. Books present information, and as we read words and allow our brains to process them, we form logical decisions.
However, for me personally, I prefer looking at a fine piece of art over reading a book. Looking at a painting I appreciate the colors and the brushstrokes and how everything interacts to create the scene or image presented. The different shapes, colors, contours and materials in a piece of art evoke emotions that books can’t quite conjure up for me.
Paint a picture for your audience
The point is, for me and for many other people, seeing something versus reading about it often conveys more meaning and simplifies comprehension. In fact, research conducted by 3M Corporation concluded that we process visual images 60,000 times faster than we process text. Images are the most straightforward and easiest things for our brains to remember. This means you can paint a picture for your audience much faster with an actual picture than you can with words and numbers.
Work orders = literature, maps = art!
All of this brings us back to the topic of whether or not art and literature have a place in the daily work lives of our field technicians. If we consider work orders and the data associated with those work orders as a form of literature (words and numbers), and conversely consider maps as a graphical form of art, then I do believe these two items belong in the field.
But the real question is, why do we continue (for the most part) to limit our field workers to “literature” or data presented in a tabular format? If images are processed faster and retained more quickly and for longer periods, doesn’t it make sense to give our users their information in a visual representation on a map? We should, through color coding, let them “see” their work and notice the difference between work assigned to them and work waiting to be assigned. We should let them see when a meter is registering high values and needs repair, instead of forcing them to read about the need for repairs on a form. Or better yet, let’s give them a choice!
I don’t think there’s necessarily a right way and a wrong way to give our workers the information they need to perform their tasks efficiently and quickly process the information they’re given. However, we should not limit them to only one way.
Gomocha knows that users need a choice
With the latest release of our FMP360 platform, we’ve taken our strong history in GIS and mapping and integrated images into our platform. Field workers can now see their data on a map. They can have a visual representation of their assets and where they’re located with respect to other assets and even to their current location. They can identify the location of their colleagues on a map and navigate to those colleagues to borrow a tool.