Employee GPS Tracking: Effective or a Breach of Privacy?
Time tracking helps to ensure that your employees’ time is being well documented and reduces the chance for errors. However, time tracking methods should also ensure employees don’t feel their privacy is at risk. Many employers are adopting employee GPS tracking methods to keep tabs on their team, which could raise some eyebrows when it comes to privacy. Although GPS tracking can be a great motivator, it can also raise trust issues with staff.
The question is, does employee GPS tracking work or is it a breach of privacy?
GPS Tracking for Planning
If your business manages a fleet of trucks, GPS tracking plays an important role in tracking and planning. You can monitor your drivers, track their routes and provide real-time advice to help them remain on schedule should they encounter obstacles such as construction or traffic. This diversion can help minimize time on their routes and improve customer service.
Drivers also have their own GPS devices, so they are able to troubleshoot their route plans and remain more effective in their jobs.
GPS tracking is an excellent tool for tracking fuel usage. You can use the GPS to determine where drivers might improve fuel consumption based on the routes they are taking. You can troubleshoot wasted time via poorly chosen routes to maintain fuel efficiency. This can also confirm expenses related to driving.
Safety is very important for your company’s reputation. GPS tracking devices allow you to fairly evaluate a driver’s performance and honesty. The monitoring software used in GPS tracking devices is a very good incentive for drivers to avoid unethical behavior. Employees will have the incentive to work harder and drive safely when they know they are being tracked.
GPS for Non-Mobile Uses
Employee GPS tracking does not only apply to drivers. They can be used in any situation via a phone app, wristbands or an employee time clock with GPS. Wearable or phone app GPS tracking allows you to monitor and assess a worker’s habits. A worker’s behavior is noted whether they remain at their workstations as expected or tend to wander about the facility or office in areas they are not expected to visit. Bad habits can have an impact on productivity not only affecting the worker who is not working but those they choose to interact with throughout the day.
Proof of Work
GPS devices provide proof of work or lack thereof, so that time wasters can be dealt with quickly. Workers can be shown where they are wasting time to support and reinforce company policies. Data provides proof when employees are working hard or distracting co-workers. This is important for performance reviews, as well as providing solid evidence when discipline or firing a worker is required.
GPS Tracking and The Law
Businesses have to be very cautious if they choose to use an employee GPS tracking policy. Almost every state has privacy regulations, which vary greatly in how GPS tracking can be used legally. You have to confirm whether or not tracking is allowed, and in most cases, tracking requires the employee’s permission. As well tracking might be allowed for tracking a company-owned vehicle but cannot be used as a personal device or in an employee’s privately-owned vehicle. Misuse of GPS devices can lead to costly lawsuits.
Invasion of Privacy
If state laws are not followed correctly, you could be infringing on your employee’s privacy. In some cases, you might unwittingly be tracking employees when they aren’t even on the clock. This can be regarded as an invasion of privacy. It becomes very important to have written permission from employees if you wish to use a tracking app on their personal or even work provided phones.
Disable Features and Access
Tracking devices require disable features allowing employees to perform personal activities undetected. This would include something like using the bathroom or break time. Employees have the right to understand the technology is secure and does not put their personal information or activities at risk. Employees might also be concerned that sensitive data is being shared by people who do not have permission.
With today’s workforce, trust is very important. If you choose to use personal surveillance, you are risking losing effective talent who feel their performance is being questioned. As well, you cannot fairly request poor performers to use a tracking device without raising concerns that others are not required to do so. You are inferring that your business doesn’t trust employees to do their jobs that ultimately can have a very negative effect on company morale.
In the end, companies have to follow the letter of the law when choosing to use GPS tracking to avoid issues. As well, employee rights are paramount. They should feel safe and empowered within the workplace where mutual trust and respect can be the greatest motivator for productivity and job satisfaction.
About The Author
Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.