May 12, 2017

How to Know if GPS Tracking is Right for Your Employees

Written by
Myranda Mondry

In less than two short years, experts predict nearly 237 million Americans will own and operate a smartphone — that’s more than 71 percent of the total population. 

It’s no surprise that mobile technology is taking the world, and the workplace, by storm. Thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, many companies are now using GPS location tracking embedded in mobile apps to keep tabs on their employees. This can be especially helpful when it comes to shift management, time tracking, and attendance, but it isn’t right for every team. 

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most important questions and benefits for employers considering GPS.

1. Do you have employees in multiple locations?

Using a time tracking or payroll solution that includes GPS location tracking discourages buddy punching, eliminates time theft, and increases employee accountability across the board. Supervisors and managers with employees in multiple locations or on-the-go no longer need to rely on the honor system when it comes employees clocking in or out. In essence, it allows these leaders to be in two or more places at once.

2. Is employee safety a concern in your line of work?

Mobile employees can rest easy knowing their supervisor has their safety in mind. With GPS location tracking, there’s no need to call around or constantly check in to make sure all employees are safe and accounted for. If a worker fails to arrive to the scheduled site or hasn’t checked in at the end of their shift, leaders can quickly assess the situation and send help. This is especially handy for employees working with heavy machinery or on dangerous construction sites.

3. Would your business benefit from faster response times?

For companies with employees on the go, supervisors can use GPS tracking to pinpoint a job’s location and assign the nearest workers. In emergency situations, you can dispatch a team to the site as quickly as possible. For service-based companies, having the ability to pick up extra jobs on the go can mean the difference between surviving and thriving.

For business owners, the benefits are obvious, but employees — the ones actually being tracked — won’t always see it that way.

4. How do your employees feel about GPS tracking?

A recent independent survey conducted by TSheets found that one in three employees are either currently being tracked at work or have prior experience with GPS tracking in the workplace.

You might assume that employees balk at the idea of being tracked at work. According to the survey, they don’t mind as much as you might think. In fact, the majority of employees surveyed actually saw some serious benefits from GPS tracking in the workplace — things like increased safety, mileage tracking, and getting paid for every second worked were big draws for survey respondents. 

Common Employee Concerns

All employees (both those who have been tracked in the past and those who haven’t) admitted they do have some concerns about privacy. A tenth of employees who had been tracked before believed they were being tracked 24/7 — a huge violation of privacy laws. Others weren’t sure when the tracking started or stopped.

Despite this, most employees didn’t mind managers knowing their location throughout the day. In fact, “micromanagement” ranked last on their list of concerns. Both employees who have experience with GPS tracking and those who don’t agree (70 percent) they’re most worried about excessive data usage and battery drain. 

Only nine percent share that concern when a personal app, like Facebook, is in question — despite the fact that Facebook is a notorious data and battery hog. That’s probably because when employees trust an app, even a workplace-required app, they’re more likely to install and use it on their personal devices. 

What’s The Solution?

If you’re planning to implement an employee tracking system, there are several things you can do to earn your employees’ trust and participation.

  • Instill more confidence in your employees by educating them about the app’s data usage, security, and trustworthiness.
  • Show your employees how to check the app’s data and battery usage, and offer to pay for any unexpected overages the workplace required app might cause. (Most workplace GPS apps use a minimal amount of data and battery power, but your employees will feel more confident if they know it won’t cost them money).
  • Remember that most employees believe GPS tracking offers some great benefits. When introducing the technology to your business, start with the positives: location tracking helps keep them safe, ensures they get paid for every second worked, and benefits the business overall.

Mobile technology is the way of the future, and GPS tracking in the workplace is a continuously growing trend. When introduced and implemented properly, it can lead to some big benefits for both you and your employees.


Myranda Mondry is a copywriter and researcher at TSheets — an employee time tracking and scheduling app that’s used by more than 20,000 businesses worldwide.