Over the last decade, evolving methods of GPS technology and location-based services (LBS) have increasingly allowed businesses and employers to use Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies to track their field employees. When GPS was first incorporated into business operations, physical hardware (a wired GPS device) was primarily limited to tracking assets: machinery, vehicles, and loads, etc.
The advances in mobile and cloud technologies and the increasing popularity of smartphones and smart devices with built-in GPS chips allows businesses to easily expand location services to its workforce (the employees) and gain valuable insights on-field operations.
The recent normality of GPS location services in employee management has encouraged business owners to better understand the relationship between employee privacy rights and employer rights to accountability and productivity. Phones used in location tracking can either be the employee’s personal phone or provided by the employer. Both scenarios cause many to ask the question: How do businesses track their employees without crossing ethical or legal boundaries?
Using cloud-based location services for employee management offers comprehensive benefits for businesses in the field service industry.
The increased productivity from both employers and employees caused by automating operations and logistics results in major savings for a company of any size. Features like mileage tracking and real-time dispatch response further cut costs.
Support for Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) requirements, overtime calculation, and rest regulations. A mobile workforce software offers the best solution to ensure businesses follow legal guidelines for complex labor laws.
The knowledge of the real-time location, job status, and availability helps streamline operations and increases overall productivity. Some of the best solutions, like the allgeo (previously known as myGeoTracking) can help automate any field operations workflow by letting businesses define their operations logic and workflow based on an IFTTT (if this then that) sequence.
So, on one hand, employees have a right to their privacy. On the other hand, businesses also have a responsibility to maximize productivity and efficiency for all stake holders i.e. customers, employees, vendors etc. During work hours it is critical for businesses to improve the performance of employees who are in the field performing vital tasks such as field customer service, freight deliveries, property management and emergency response etc.
If location services are used responsibly, businesses can efficiently enjoy the benefits of GPS technologies. Employers can practice authority without breaching employee privacy by focusing on these tips:
Acknowledge state laws regarding employee tracking.
While GPS tracking of employees is still relatively new and thus not commonly addressed in State and Federal laws, some states enforce general employee privacy guidelines to abide by.
Select a good field service management tool that offers strong privacy controls
Modern tools offer strong privacy features that empower business operations with real-time status information about the employees during work hours without compromising privacy.
Having an open communication with employees on this topic and providing them the flexibility to manage their privacy is a good place to start. Rigid guidelines should be set that abide by HR policy.
allGeo is a cloud-hosted, carrier grade location and messaging platform that helps SMB and Enterprise businesses better manage their mobile employees by improving productivity and accountability, while reducing payroll and operations costs with solutions such as GPS tracking & time clock, Lone worker safety, Automation of field activity monitoring, Mobile forms & data collection including signature, notes, pictures, barcode/QR code etc. The allGeo platform enables these solutions across a wide range of industries such as field service management, trade services, emergency responders, sales reps, transportation & logistics, and home health care providers.
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