As we all know social housing associations rely heavily on mobile workers. Maintenance teams are required to constantly travel between locations, ensuring tenants receive the appropriate service as quickly as possible.

In the past, the processes and infrastructure used by associations haven’t necessarily been environmentally friendly, and transportation is known for being one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions. This now needs to change as the profession aims to clean up its act and contribute to the wider drive to help reduce society’s carbon footprint.

Consumers expect companies to be more sustainable, and those that don’t will get left behind. Also, housing associations need to step up in light of the government’s agenda to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy to meet its net zero target by 2050.

That’s why we have put together this article to offer some solutions for field service managers looking to be kinder to the natural environment.

Here, we will explore some of the methods you can use to reduce the carbon footprint of your field-based workers and create a greener workforce.

1. Reduce the amount of time on the road

In most cases, the biggest carbon emitter for a social housing association’s mobile workforce is the vehicles used and the time spent on the road. Reducing the amount of time field-based staff spend on the road is one of the easiest carbon-reducing solutions, which can easily be achieved by using appropriate field service management software.

Services like ROCC’s mobile workforce software, ensure mobile workers stay fully connected with back office systems and staff at all times. This means that critical information can be clearly communicated to help minimise mistakes and make the process more efficient. It also facilitates real-time, full team route optimisation for the whole field service team, making sure travel time is minimised effectively across the entire team.

In doing so, social housing associations can ensure that tenant satisfaction and productivity are met, while also reducing the amount of wasted time on the road.

Put simply, effective communication and more efficient best practices will ultimately lead to fewer miles being driven by mobile workers, which will help to significantly reduce a company’s carbon emissions.

In terms of the vehicles themselves, switching to electric will also significantly reduce emissions. There has been some hesitancy from companies that work with field-based staff to adopt electric vehicles, due to concerns about range and charging infrastructure.

However, electric vehicles are gradually becoming more able to travel long distances without losing power and charging points are more readily available. Initiatives like the Workplace Charging Scheme are in place as well to offer UK businesses the option to claim financial support towards the installation of electric vehicle charge points at their premises.

2. Introduce a zero-paper policy

Across many sectors, companies have clamped down on paper waste, which is something social housing associations should also look to prioritise. The digital world we live in has made this leap more feasible, but there are still some areas associated with field-based workers that need to be tidied up.

For example, some mobile workforces still rely on hard copies of customer service records, training manuals, paper forms for signatures and so on. This is why more businesses that rely on mobile workers should look to digitise the way they manage documents and forms, including social housing associations.

By moving to electronic forms and communicating with tenants digitally, it will be much easier to successfully implement a near zero-paper policy. It also means that tenants can receive real-time notifications, job status updates and summary emails to help speed up the process and reduce waiting times associated with paper communication.

3. Use the right mobile workforce software

As we have already briefly mentioned, mobile workforce software is a vital tool for field service managers, as it enables them to increase the performance and productivity of their field-based workers. Using this software, housing associations can improve the overall management of the services they provide to benefit their tenants and mobile staff. Managers and supervisors can do this by tracking the performance and productivity of their teams in real time.

If you choose to partner with ROCC, you’ll be able to utilise these software benefits to help drive down your carbon emissions by making your processes more efficient. With the ROCC Mobile workforce solution, you’ll receive a fully scalable and offline-enabled service that has been designed using the latest technology. This ensures it provides a fully intuitive experience to users with minimal onboarding costs.

If you want to successfully embark on the journey to reducing your carbon footprint as a field service manager, then adopting reliable and trusted mobile workforce software is a good place to start.

4. Improve your basic KPIs

Most field service managers will share this frustration at some point. All too often mobile workers will have to make repeated trips because their first attempt at providing the appropriate maintenance work couldn’t be completed. With social housing organisations, not only could this be at best frustrating and at worst disastrous for the tenants, but it also means that this inefficiency will lead to more miles on the road.

The three key KPIs to consider are right-first-time, completed-first-time and removing no access (where an operative attends but the tenant isn’t home).

Improving your right-first-time score can be achieved by:

  • Ensuring the right field service worker with the right skills is selected to do a job.
  • The mobile workers have all the right information before they start their journey to complete a job.
  • The tenant has been led with simple-to-use but powerful diagnostics to give the right information and it’s supported by photos or videos.

The tenant needs to be communicated with in real-time to ensure they know the operative is coming and that they have the flexibility to rearrange appointments easily if they are going to be unavailable. It’s also imperative that if any routine inspections or planned maintenance is due soon, then any jobs raised are scheduled with those in mind to get as much done as possible in a single visit.

Tenants should also be able to track operatives in an Uber-style platform, so they can see where an operative is and when they will arrive. Solutions like ROCC Mobile facilitate this function.

Cloud-based infrastructure and mobile workforce software certainly help with all of the above, but also making sure your office-based team is properly trained will also contribute.

By improving your KPIs, not only will your business run efficiently and your tenants stay happy, but you’ll also cut down on repeat visits and the negative impact this can have on the environment.

5. Joining your supply chain up

The final piece of advice for this article in making your housing organisation more sustainable is to ensure your supply chain has a joined-up approach. This will ensure that field service workers don’t waste time going back and forth to your own store depot or to trade merchants trying to get the right materials for their van to complete the work.

It’s important to make sure this whole process is digital, but also proactive, so an operative will only go to a job if they have the right materials and if they can go to the nearest supplier to instantly pick them up. This will save them having to drive miles to either go to their own stock depot or to their only preferred supplier.

Next steps

So, there you have it, five top tips for reducing your carbon footprint as a field service manager. Hopefully, you now feel in a better position to address your social housing association’s current sustainability concerns and help your organisation be recognised as an environmentally friendly workplace.

It’s important you keep working with your technology provider closely and push them to help you be greener. To do this, you will need a supplier like ROCC who wants to partner with you to tackle these big environmental challenges and ensure you don’t get left behind by your competitors.

At ROCC, we partner with many housing organisations, using platforms like the ROCC Strategic Advisory Board (R-SAB) to ensure we are meeting these challenges with our customers. Every three months, R-SAB members come together to discuss a whole range of issues, with a focus on complete transparency, honesty and confidentiality to ensure everybody can openly discuss their businesses and challenges together.

To find out more about the R-SAB and to see how ROCC can help you in your endeavour to be greener, get in touch with our friendly team today to discuss what our mobile workforce software can do for you.


  • ROCC

    Over 1,000,000 properties are maintained with ROCC Housing Maintenance and Repairs software.

    View all posts