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Tips for dispatchers

Dispatchers are responsible for creating and assigning assignments, providing workers with the information they need to complete their work. Learn some tips and best practices to make you successful in managing your assignments with Workforce:

Tip: Create assignments from features

You can use a feature to create a new assignment. Select the feature and click + Create Assignment to create an assignment at the feature's location. The feature's pop-up title is used as the location text. Provide the rest of the assignment information as you do with any assignment, including setting its type, assigning it, setting its priority, and providing a due date.

Tip: Create assignments from search results

You may need to create an assignment at a particular location or feature. You can search for that location or feature and create an assignment from the result. Click Search Search and type the address, place, or feature information for where you want to create an assignment. The address, place, or feature shows in the results.

  • If you have a single feature result, click the result to view its details and click + Create Assignment.
  • If you have a single place, click + Create Assignment.
  • If you have multiple features or places, check the check boxes beside any results you want to use to create an assignment, and click + Create Assignment (or + Create Assignments if you've selected multiple results).
Note:

If your results include multiple layers of features, or a combination of places and features, you'll see a categorized list instead of individual entries and check boxes. Select the category to see the list of results for it, and then continue with selecting the results to make assignments from them.

The assignment location is placed at the search result's location. If it is a polygon or line, the center of the feature is used as the assignment's location. The assignment's location text is populated from the feature's pop-up title or the address or place's information and address. Provide the rest of the details for your assignments, and click Create Assignment (or Create Assignments if creating more than one).

Tip: Create multiple assignments at once

If you are creating a number of assignments that have the same details, you can create them all at once so you don't have to enter the details multiple times. You can provide the assignment locations in the following ways:

  • Click + Assignments in the assignments list and search or click the map to add a location. Search or click again to add the locations for the other assignments you are creating.
  • Search and use the search results as the basis of your assignment. See Create assignments from search results for details.
  • Use the Identify tool Identify features in an area to select a set of features on the map. You'll get a list of results much like you do when searching, and you can use them to create assignments the same way you do with search results.

Once you have provided the assignment locations, continue providing the rest of the assignment information as you do with any assignment, including setting their type, assigning them, setting their priority, and providing a due date. Once you have entered all the locations where you'd like to create an assignment with these details, and your details are complete, click Create Assignments. An assignment with the details you provided is created at each of the locations you specified.

Tip: Assign assignments

One of your main jobs as a dispatcher is to assign assignments to your mobile workers. There are a couple of ways to do this in Workforce; choose what works for your organization's workflows from the following:

  • Assign an assignment while creating or editing it—If you are already creating or editing an assignment, click Assign in the Assigned to section, and select the mobile worker to whom the work should be assigned.
  • Assign using the assignments list—You can assign single or multiple assignments to a mobile worker using the assignments list. Check the box to the left of each assignment you want to assign, click Assign, and select the mobile worker to whom the work should be assigned.
  • Assign an assignment through a selection on the map—You can assign a single assignment to a mobile worker by selecting the assignment on the map to view its details. Click the assignment to select it. In the assignment details that display, click Assign, and select the mobile worker to whom the work should be assigned.
  • Assign multiple assignments through a selection on the map—You can assign multiple assignments to a mobile worker by selecting the assignments on the map. Use Identify features in an area Identify features in an area to get a list of the assignments you are interested in. Select the assignments you are interested in from that list, or click Select All to select all of them. They are also selected on the map and in the assignments list. Once you have your selection, you'll assign the same way you did when using the assignments list. Click Assign and select the mobile worker to whom the work should be assigned.
    Note:

    If you are viewing the details of an assignment, return to the assignments list to see and assign your selection.

Tip: Reassign assignments

There are times you'll need to reassign assignments. For example, you might have assigned them, but the current assignment of the mobile worker is taking longer than expected. Or perhaps you assigned the assignments in the morning, only for the mobile worker to call in sick. As the dispatcher, you can reassign assignments that are assigned, paused, or declined. However, as soon as the mobile worker starts an assignment and the assignment is in progress, you can't reassign it. While in progress, the assignment is controlled by the mobile worker actively working on it. You, as the dispatcher, control it in any other state, including unassigned, assigned, paused, completed, or declined.

To reassign an assignment, open its details, click the name of the currently assigned worker to show the list of mobile workers, and select the mobile worker to whom the work should be reassigned. To see how to reassign assignments in bulk, see Reassign assignments in Assign your first assignment.

Note:

If the originally assigned mobile worker started or completed any of the assignments, their name is disabled in the details and clicking it won't show the list of mobile workers. You'll only be able to view the name of the mobile worker currently assigned, and you can't reassign the assignment.

Tip: Reassign declined assignments

A mobile worker can decline an assignment. They may not have time for it in their schedule today, or they may be unable to complete it. When an assignment is declined, you'll see the declined symbol next to it. Your job is to understand why, and if it does need to be completed, to reassign it. You can reassign it to a different mobile worker, or even to the same mobile worker that declined it. For example, after it is declined, you might call them and let them know that it is in fact their main priority for the day, and that you'll reassign some of their other assignments to make room for it.

When you see that an assignment is declined, view its details to learn why. If you want to reassign it, click the name of the currently assigned worker, and select the mobile worker to whom the work should be reassigned. To reassign it to the same mobile worker, reselect them.

Tip: Cancel assignments

Sometimes you need to cancel an assignment. Perhaps it is an inspection that can't be completed because a manhole was paved over, and now that inspection no longer needs to be done. For these types of assignments, you can cancel them. When you do so, the assignment isn't deleted: it remains in the assignments layer, so any notes about why it needs to be canceled can still be accessed. However, canceled assignments are removed from the Workforce web app. Cancel an assignment from its details by clicking the overflow menu Overflow menu and clicking Cancel assignment. You can also select single or multiple assignments either on the map or in the assignments list and click the Cancel button in the assignments list to cancel them.

Tip: Sort and filter the assignments list

The assignments list should make it easy for you to review the status of your project. However, different organizations identify key assignments in different ways: some organizations use priority, while others use due date, and others a combination of both. By default, the assignments list is sorted by status, but that may not be the sort that is most useful to you. In addition, you may need to work with a particular subset of the assignments, and you'd like the list to show only those assignments. If you are checking on the progress of critical assignments, you may want to filter the list to only show critical assignments, and sort them by their status. Perhaps your organization uses date to prioritize, and you need to make sure all assignments with inspection as part of their type are assigned and prioritized appropriately—you could filter the list to only show assignments of type inspection, sorted by their due dates. You may also have a lot of assignments in the list, and use a filter to see all that are due today.

At the top of the assignments list, you'll see the options for sorting and filtering.

Assignments list filtering options

Use the text box to filter the assignment's type, location, or ID by a particular string. Use the Status, Due, Priority, or Assignee filters to restrict which assignments are included in the list based on those properties. For example, to find all inspections that are due today and high priority, type inspection in the text box, set Due to Due today, and set Priority to High. To see all types of inspections grouped together, choose Assignment Type in the Sort drop-down list. If your organization is not concerned with completed assignments, set Status to include all statuses other than Completed.

Tip: Disable clustering to see individual assignments on the map

By default, when assignments are close together they are grouped into clusters on the map, indicated by a larger circle containing the number of assignments in that cluster. This makes it easier to see at a glance where your assignments are located, and how dense they are in various areas. However, you might need to see all the individual assignments on the map. Click the Clustering toggle button in the lower left corner of the map to turn it off, and click it again to turn clustering back on. You can't always control clustering. If you are zoomed in far enough that clustering doesn't provide an informative view of your assignments, it is automatically turned off and can't be turned on. Conversely, if you are zoomed out far enough that a high volume of assignments will be displayed, clustering is turned on and can't be turned off.

Tip: View the status and workload of workers

When assigning an assignment, you may want to view all the mobile workers to choose who to assign. You may want to see if there is a mobile worker with a lower workload, or perhaps you want to make sure you choose a mobile worker who is currently working. At the bottom of the panel, click Workers to see the list of all mobile workers in the project. By default, it is sorted by status, but you can also sort by workload or name. You can also filter the list. To locate a worker on the map, hover over or click their name. Under each thumbnail you see status information: this is often the mobile worker's status, but if they are inactive it will show the time since their last activity, and if they have not yet opened the project you'll see No location.

Tip: Identify workers with out-of-date statuses and locations

Mobile workers automatically check in while using the app, updating their location and status on a regular interval. However, sometimes they are unable to check in. The mobile worker may not have a network connection, or they could be using an iPhone or iPad and didn't set their status to Not Working before the app was shut down. If that check-in hasn't occurred, their status and location could be out of date. To help you identify mobile workers where the status or location may not be valid, workers who haven't checked in recently show information about when they last checked in. You can see this information below their icons in the Workers list, or beside the status when viewing the details of a worker. Shown here, Inspector Jeff last checked in 8 days ago.

Inspector Jeff's information in the Workers list
Inspector Jeff's details