The benefits of sharing resources across multiple offices

Optimizing resources across multiple project sites is pivotal in the dynamic construction industry. This article explores the specialized benefits, from cost-effectiveness to bolstering collaboration, providing insights into streamlined workflows and enduring success.

The benefits of sharing resources across multiple offices

Managing hundreds or even thousands of employees across multiple locations and on different project timelines can be a Herculean task in the construction industry. One of the most important things you can do as a contractor is effectively sharing resources across your offices. This is especially true for your most important resource, your people. 

Ironically, this is one of the most difficult things to achieve because it requires systems that help you collaborate on, communicate, view, and adapt your workforce plan on the fly. When those systems are finally in place, the benefits of sharing resources across multiple offices are manifold.

This article will explore the benefits of sharing your people across multiple offices and locations and the steps needed to implement and manage this strategy effectively. 

Sharing resources doesn’t need to be impossible

Why is sharing hard? 

If you ask most contractors if they’d like to share their resources across multiple locations, the answer is generally “yes.” So why doesn’t it happen that often?

There isn’t an easy answer for this, and it’s usually a unique set of problems for a company in particular. However, there are some similarities to this problem across the industry, and they have to do with the systems in place to handle workforce planning. Those systems are usually spreadsheets, which can work well for one person, but their limitations become obvious as soon as collaboration needs to happen.

This is how the story goes: one person or a small team owns a spreadsheet, has a workforce planning meeting, and spends the whole meeting updating data rather than doing real planning and strategy. Over time, this leads to stagnation and frustration.

Now add five more offices doing this and multiple teams with different functions within a company, like Human Resources, wanting to work together. Collaborating on a workforce plan using this method gets out of control really fast, and suddenly, you’re behind on project timelines, and your HR department is frustrated because they can’t recruit new talent to take on those projects on time.

The result is you stick to your location and forget the others. What if it didn’t have to be that way, though? What if true collaboration and communication were possible? What would your company look like?  

Benefits of Sharing Resources

Before we get into the steps you can implement, you should understand why it’s worth sharing resources and the benefits across multiple offices. 

  • Optimized resource allocation: Sharing resources across multiple offices allows construction companies to allocate their workforce more efficiently. By having visibility on labor shortages and surpluses, companies can redistribute employees to the most needed areas. This results in efficient project timelines and reduced costs.
  • Enhanced collaboration: When employees from different offices work together, they bring diverse perspectives, knowledge, and skills. This can lead to improved problem-solving and innovative solutions.
  • Increased employee retention: Sharing labor across offices can be particularly useful during an economic downturn, as it allows companies to find work for their employees in other locations rather than laying them off. This helps to maintain a skilled and experienced workforce, ensuring the company remains competitive once the economy recovers.
  • Improved regional knowledge: By having visibility on regional projects across the organization, companies can better understand local market conditions, regulatory requirements, and client expectations. This knowledge can lead to improved decision-making and more successful project outcomes.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Construction companies that can effectively share resources are more agile and adaptable, allowing them to respond to changing market conditions and seize new opportunities as they arise.
  • Better employee development: This is especially useful for Human Resources leaders. If you share labor effectively, you can provide learning opportunities for willing employees who want to work with different project teams on different kinds of projects, helping them expand their skill set and experience. 

Steps to Effectively Share People Across Multiple Offices

The best way to get the benefits of sharing resources across multiple offices is to rethink the way you do workforce planning. It’s not that you’re incapable of planning properly; it’s that the systems and tools you have in place for the process aren’t built to handle the complexity of workforce planning for construction. It’s as if you’re trying to drill a hole with a hammer. You may be able to make some hole, but it’s not as precise and effective as you would’ve made with a drill.

Luckily, tools like Bridgit Bench have been created to solve the problems associated with workforce planning in construction. With Bridgit, you can easily track and adjust your workforce plan on the fly from anywhere within the tool.

You’ll need visibility on key areas and metrics for sharing resources across multiple offices. Once those are in place, sharing resources across offices and locations will be as easy as planning for your location. Here’s a list of steps to start sharing: 

  • Tracking employees’ willingness to relocate: Before implementing a resource-sharing strategy, it’s essential to identify which employees are open to the idea of relocation. This can be achieved by conducting regular surveys, updating employee profiles, or simply having open conversations with team members. Knowing who is willing to relocate makes planning and executing resource-sharing initiatives easier. In Bridgit Bench, you can create a profile for each person in your company so you can house this information and use it when it comes time to share. 
  • Visibility on labor shortages and surpluses: Companies need to clearly understand their workforce’s current distribution and utilization to share labor across multiple offices effectively. This involves continuously monitoring labor demands and employee availability in each location. 
  • Communication between offices: Sharing resources requires seamless communication between different offices. There’s a Project Broadcast feature in Bridgit Bench that makes it easy to send messages to entire project teams. Real-time. This way, managers from various locations can collaborate and make informed decisions about resource allocation.
  • Visibility on regional projects across the organization: Construction companies must maintain an updated overview of ongoing projects across all locations to make informed decisions about labor sharing. In Bridgit Bench, you can sort your projects and people by groups to get a comprehensive view of all projects, their current status, and their region. This information can help identify opportunities for resource-sharing and enable better coordination between offices.
  • Implement a robust resource-sharing policy: To ensure that sharing labor across multiple offices is successful, companies should develop a clear policy outlining the expectations, responsibilities, and processes involved. This policy should address issues such as relocation expenses, duration of assignments, and employee benefits. Having a well-defined policy helps manage employee expectations and minimize potential conflicts.
  • Employee support and training: To make resource-sharing a success, companies must provide adequate support and training to relocating employees. This can include cultural sensitivity training, assistance with housing, and orientation programs to help employees settle into their new environments. Supporting employees during relocation ensures a smoother transition and helps maintain productivity.
  • Regularly evaluate and adjust the strategy: Sharing labor across multiple locations is an ongoing process that requires regular evaluation and adjustment. Companies should monitor the effectiveness of their resource-sharing initiatives, gather feedback from employees and managers, and make necessary adjustments to improve the process. This will ensure that the strategy remains relevant and effective in addressing labor needs across the organization.

Sharing labor across multiple locations shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a simple and essential part of your planning process. Before we go, here’s a quote from Ed McCauley, VP of Innovation at Wohlsen about how Bridgit Bench helped them support each other across different locations:

“Fast-forward from last year to this year, our utilization is exceeding what our target metrics are…  We have someone here in Pennsylvania that’s supporting a project in Connecticut now, and that’s not something that would’ve traditionally happened. Since we have full organizational insight, we’re able to do that in a far more effective way.”

Break the tradition of ineffective workforce planning. It’s time.

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Human resources as a strategic function

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Nemanja Simic headshot

Nemanja Simic

Nem is a content writer at Bridgit. He started his career in business development, where he spoke to contractors daily, providing him with a deep understanding of the problems around workforce planning in the construction industry. Using this insight, Nem developed an approach to provide digestible, data-backed advice to help contractors get the most out of their workforce strategies.

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