The infamous labor whiteboard. It often hangs in the superintendent’s office covered in sticky notes. Maybe it’s been upgraded to a magnetic whiteboard with tiles to swap in and out. Or perhaps it stretches the length of the jobsite trailer where the dry erase marks from the previous project are still visible.
Many contractors feel tied to their whiteboard and couldn’t imagine doing their jobs without it. However, it’s time to consider a cloud-based replacement, because digital labor management is the future of construction.
Moving to a digital workforce management platform is not only easier, it makes contractors wonder why they ever used a whiteboard in the first place. Let’s visit the top five reasons why contractors think they can’t quit their whiteboard — and a few reasons why it might be time to try.
1. “We’ve Always Used a Whiteboard”
Habits are a hard thing to break. Contractors using a whiteboard know they can still get the work done. They find a way to get people on and off a project. But scheduling labor with this analog method eats up hours of the day and requires multiple phone calls and emails to get the right person on the right job at the right time.
There’s a better way to manage labor — the digital whiteboard in Procore’s Workforce Planning improves labor visibility and transparency, helps eliminate data entry errors, and provides critical information to teams in real-time.
Don’t confuse complacency for tradition. People need the right tools for the job.
2. “I Can See My Whiteboard Every Day”
A select few have access to a labor whiteboard. But what about the rest of the team in the field and the office?
Whiteboards can unintentionally wall off information. They can also turn project managers into gatekeepers, making it harder to share project data at check-in meetings or multiple jobsites.
A digital WFM platform provides everyone on the team with the same, pertinent information in real-time. Instead of key project details being locked away in a superintendent’s mind, teams now have secure, cloud-based storage. When everyone in a company is working from the same set of facts, they can more easily align expectations and manage costs.
Some information — like health conditions or wage rates for labor— does need to be kept private. That’s why Workforce Planning customizable fields and permission levels, so people can see the information they need without gaining access to sensitive employee data.
3. “It’s Going to Be Hard to Replace Our Whiteboard”
It sounds overwhelming to move from a physical whiteboard to a digital experience. But if they want to develop objective standards, ways to measure job productivity over time, and learn about what has worked for their company on past projects, contractors need a digital platform to track that information.
4. “It’s Going to Be Expensive to Replace Our Whiteboard”
It probably feels like the whiteboard is an inexpensive solution for a big line item: labor costs. Replacing a physical board with digital labor management sounds like an expensive proposition.
When it comes down to it, contractors are likely spending more money by keeping their whiteboards than utilizing digital workforce planning.
But why is that? Many contractors don’t account for the amount of time that some of their highest paid employees spend on administrative tasks. The hours that go into assigning, tracking and scheduling labor adds up quickly. Workforce Planning can help contractors realize time and cost savings that don’t just pay for the platform but pay long-term dividends that will boost their bottom line.
5. It’s Easier to Use a Whiteboard
Track the time spent updating a whiteboard each day — it’s probably more than an hour. It’s not continuous, so contractors can’t see minutes leak away over the course of a day, a week, and a month. It’s also hard to identify errors on a labor whiteboard.
Digitizing the typical labor whiteboard takes the process of data entry and makes it more reliable and trackable. Contractors can still control who can adjust assignments or move people around jobs. With Workforce Planning, they have a way to directly communicate those moves to people in the office or the field through text messaging, email, or in-app alerts. They can also send those assignments as real-time updates, while they’re adjusting their labor profile. The whiteboard isn’t the only way to manage labor.