Employee GPS Tracking

A complete guide for service based businesses

When it comes to employee GPS tracking, the future is now. In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, every competitive advantage needs to be utilized. And if you’re still not using employee GPS tracking, rest assured your competitors already are, or are planning to start soon.

At Labor Sync, our goal is to help you optimize your employee tracking processes and to make employee GPS tracking more accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes. That’s why we created this guide - to help clear up any lingering doubts, uncertainties, questions, or fears that might be preventing you from reaping the benefits of employee GPS tracking. So, please, read on to learn how and why GPS tracking will help your business.

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Introduction

GPS technology is ever-present in modern life, with the vast majority of us using it every day – often without even realizing it.

With the global surge in remote work due to COVID-19, the development and adoption of GPS technology for use in labor tracking has exploded.

Considering the benefits, the real surprise is that it’s taken so long.

A recent study estimated that companies that use time tracking software with payroll features are 44% less likely to commit paycheck errors. While another study resulted in 43% of hourly workers surveyed admitting to some degree of time theft (when an employee is paid for work or time they shouldn’t be compensated for.

Meanwhile, the accessibility and ease-of-use of employee GPS tracking apps has never been greater. These apps easily track and maintain impressively accurate records of employee work times and locations.

One of the biggest hurdles to implementation appears to be a lack of awareness, so let’s dive in and change that.

Part I. What is GPS tracking?

Let’s start with the basics.

GPS stands for Global Positioning System and is one of several currently active Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). For the purposes of this guide, we will be focusing solely on GPS, which is owned by the United States government and operated by the United States Air Force. Although the United States government created, controls and maintains the GPS system, it is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.

At its most basic, GPS is a satellite-based radionavigation system. It provides geolocation and time information to a receiver anywhere on or near the Earth with an unobstructed line of sight to at least four of the network’s twenty-four active satellites.

GPS accessibility has been available to the public since 1983, with the current constellation of 27 satellites (24 active and 3 standing by as backups) becoming fully operational in 1993.

GPS does not require the user to transmit any data and operates independently of any telephonic or internet reception.

GPS technology is amazingly accurate

As of October 2022, high-end GPS users can achieve accuracy to within two centimeters! Most consumer devices currently offer accuracy to roughly 15 feet. That said, the U.S. government is actively upgrading the system with the goal of providing accuracy within 30 centimeters to all users by 2027.

GPS technology is also amazingly reliable

Each GPS satellite holds its own atomic clock that is synchronized with every other satellite as well as numerous ground clocks. Any variation in time keeping is corrected daily.

And the Department of Defense is actually required by law to “maintain a Standard Positioning Service that will be available on a continuous, worldwide basis.”

GPS is considered a dual-use technology in that it has both significant military and civilian applications. And trust us, if it’s reliable enough for the military, it’s reliable enough for you.

In fact, GPS’ accuracy and reliability allow it to serve as the bedrock for a multitude of everyday activities you might not be aware of, such as banking, mobile phone operations, and control of power grids.

Your car’s navigation system? GPS system. Your plane’s navigation system? GPS. Your boat’s? GPS. Heavy equipment used in construction, mining, and precision agriculture? GPS. GPS. GPS.

We could go on, but don’t worry, we won’t. The point is clear.

GPS technology is as reliable as it gets.

Part II. Benefits of Employee GPS Tracking for Businesses

“Okay, I get it. The military uses GPS. The aviation industry uses GPS. My car uses GPS… But what the heck does that have to do with operating my business?”

The benefits of employee GPS tracking are vast. Take a look at this list:

  • Enhanced Productivity

  • Simplified Time Tracking and Payroll Processes

  • Unlimited Accessibility

  • Optimized Workforce Management

  • Empowered Workforce

  • Increased Profitability

Now, if you can’t identify at least one of those things as being beneficial to your business, fine. Maybe employee GPS tracking isn’t for you. Best of luck out there.

But for those of you looking to do whatever it takes to maximize the efficiency of your business practices, let’s dive deeper into each of the items on that list.

Enhanced Productivity

Paper timesheets are the worst. Paper anything is the worst.

Job sites (and the vehicles we use to get to them) are often dirty, messy, and disorganized. Things get lost, damaged, and destroyed regularly.

Trying to keep a physical record of clock-ins and clock-outs is a nuisance - for both employees and employers. Not to mention, constantly checking in to report your location when moving between job sites can be a serious waste of time.

Maximizing the efficiency of your employees means maximizing the efficiency of your business.

Employee GPS tracking allows for the reduction of busywork for both employees and employers, so everyone can focus on doing the job they’re being paid to do.

With GPS tracking apps, no one has to bother with unnecessary phone calls or even - heaven forbid - having to pull out an actual paper map to try and locate a lost or late employee.

Many labor tracking apps now offer real-time, interactive, GPS-verified maps showing the most up-to-date location of every single employee.

And when those employees do get to the job site, GPS tracking apps can instantly confirm and verify their location, while allowing them to check in with the click of a button. No more waiting in clock-in lines or taking the time to fill out sign-in sheets.

Uncomplicated clock-in procedures mean your employees can get to work doing what you’re paying them to do, quickly, easily, efficiently, and without worry. And if an employee resents having uncompromisable time-keeping, well, that’s probably not an employee you want to keep around…

Simplified Time Tracking and Payroll Processes

Have we mentioned paper timesheets are the worst? Not just for your labor force, but especially for the payroll team tasked with keeping everything organized, honest, and compliant.

With labor tracking apps, payroll records can be automatically GPS, time, and date-stamped for all employees.

And this digitized timesheet and payroll information is significantly easier to sort, organize, and monitor than messy paper documents. Payroll processes can be additionally streamlined with easy-to-use, built-in integrations. Customizable reports can be instantly and easily exported to Quickbooks or other software. Imagine a world where payroll processing time takes minutes rather than days and comes with nearly 100% reliability.

We have a feeling it won’t be just your payroll and estimating teams celebrating.

But perhaps most importantly, GPS-verified time and location tracked records can help ensure you stay on the right side of complicated and ever-evolving workplace labor laws and requirements. Keeping accurate records of every activity your workforce performs protects you and your business. No more he-said, she-said. Every action is recorded, verifiable, and accessible at any time thanks to GPS’ seamless integration with cloud-based storage.

Unlimited Accessibility

The ability of labor tracking apps to upload data directly to the cloud currently enables unprecedented levels of accessibility and mobility within the workforce. Employers, managers, and employees have been largely freed of the dependence on physical workstations.

Gone are the days of carrying around bulging accordion folders or scouring through filofaxes scattered around the backseat of a dirty pickup truck. Employee tracking apps allow you to monitor your entire workforce with just your phone, tablet, or desktop. With some labor tracking apps allowing foremen and managers to log and monitor the activity of their entire teams using batch entries. The search functionality of this digitized information alone can bring significantly improved efficiency to job sites.

At any time, at any place, as long as you’re connected to the internet, cloud-based services allow you to access the information you need and share it without having to physically deliver it. Having a central location for all of your documents, retrievable from anywhere, is crucial for someone who works primarily on job sites.

Need we even mention how much time and money can be saved on paper, ink, and printing supplies?

Optimized Workforce Management

No one wants to pay for work that wasn’t done.

Knowing exactly when and where every member of your workforce is in real-time represents the ultimate management tool. Many employee GPS tracking apps allow you to view all of your employees in real-time, on one screen. And with the click of a button you can even watch them travel to their next destination.

With time management being a priority in the workplace, especially in industries like construction where employees regularly travel between job sites, the ability to track how and where your employees travel while on the clock is paramount.

Employee GPS tracking apps make large workforces easier to manage and keep track of.

This is especially beneficial for projects where employee hours are tied to the specific job sites they’re working at. With crews working multiple jobs during the week, or even during a single day, it can be difficult to tell how many hours were spent where. With GPS tracking, you can see exactly how many man-hours should be allocated to each job site, performing each function, with ease.

Real-time time-tracking also provides increased awareness of overall time management, such as the ability to set up notifications when overtime is approached or triggered, or how much time is being used on different equipment.

Empowered Workforce

The benefits of employee GPS tracking apps do not exclusively apply to management-levels and above. First and foremost, accurate time tracking ensures that employees are certain to get paid for the work they’ve done. Payroll disputes can be quickly and easily resolved with information instantly accessible not just to employers but to the employees themselves.

Employee tracking apps create reliable, safe, and easy-to-access records of all personal work information, including hours worked, jobs, and actions performed.

And as we might have mentioned before, no one wants to have to keep track of paper timesheets. Allowing employees to easily and reliably clock in and out of work empowers them to take charge of their work schedule. Employees can monitor their time and even performance based on the convenient information.

Additionally, some time-tracking apps (like Labor Sync) provide multilingual experiences. The benefits of being able to interact with vitally important, income-affecting software in one’s native language are often understated. Not to mention freeing employees from having to worry about being able to fill out time cards in a foreign language.

Increased Profitability

And last, but certainly not least, employee GPS tracking provides businesses with the opportunity to increase profits by ensuring your company is not wasting money.

Unreliable time tracking is a liability. Every year, companies lose thousands of dollars in overpaid wages due to misreported employee time-keeping. In fact, it’s such a common occurrence the term “time theft” has been coined to describe it. And unsurprisingly, it’s a significantly greater problem for companies that pay employees hourly wages vs. salaries.

Which means if you operate a service-based business and don’t utilize time-tracking software, chances are time theft is happening to you.

According to a 2017 study, the most common method of time theft, when one employee clocks in for another, aka “buddy punching,” cost American employers over $373 million in one year. Today, by requiring employees to use GPS time-tracking apps, this method of time theft can be all but completely eliminated.

Because time theft results in employees who show up on time getting paid the same as those who don’t, leaving the issue unaddressed risks demotivating your hardest and most reliable workers. Lack of motivation results in lowered productivity.

Unreliable time-keeping can cause a devastating ripple effect throughout your company as not only are you paying for work not being done, but your company’s reputation can suffer as clients begin to wonder why they’re paying for a full day’s work when people are regularly showing up late.

Make sure people are paid for the work they do, when they do it. Reward your employees’ honesty with the accurate payments they deserve.

Part III. What to Look for in Employee Tracking Apps

Alright, you’re convinced. You’re going to utilize employee GPS tracking to help optimize your business practices. But where to begin? How are you supposed to decide between the myriad options and offerings claiming to offer the perfect solution for your business?

We know we may not seem like the most impartial of guides, but in all honesty, Labor Sync was created by the owner of a roofing business inspired to find the best possible solutions to the very same problems you’re facing.

Labor Sync represents our imagining of the best possible employee GPS tracking app. The challenges of labor tracking are universal. Whether you choose Labor Sync or not, we strongly encourage you to consider these characteristics when deciding which labor tracking app is the right fit for your business.

Usability

First and foremost, please, please, pleeeease make your first priority finding an app that is intuitive and easy to use. All that you’ve read, all the listed benefits and possibilities and potential, none of it matters if your employees can’t or won’t figure out how to use the app.

You want your employees to use the app. You need your employees to use the app. The whole point of employee GPS tracking is to improve the efficiency of your labor tracking. Simple. Quick. Painless. You’re looking for the fastest, most efficient way for your employees to clock in and out and reliable GPS-based location tracking.

Do you have the free time to walk each and every one of your employees through a complicated, multi-step, challenging process? Do you have spare money lying around you can burn to pay someone to do it? We didn’t think so. Look for an app you think your employees could figure out how to use on their own. And even then, make sure the app offers support for just in case some can’t.

Implementing employee GPS tracking will only be painful if you choose to make it that way.

Inclusivity

Yeah, yeah, maybe this one’s close to usability but it’s important enough we’re giving it its own designation. No matter its size, your business operates within a global economy featuring an ever-evolving workforce. Hiring flexibility is key.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, hispanics are projected to account for 78% of net new workers between 2020 and 2030. Why burden your business with the inability to fully utilize a multinational workforce?

Avoiding communication problems is now as simple as choosing the right software. Look for a multilingual app that offers a variety of languages and allows all of your employees to use the same software, regardless of their native language.

Compatibility

Unless you’re planning on providing mobile devices for your entire workforce, you’re going to want to make sure the labor tracking app you choose offers multi-platform applicability. And you’re going to want the software to be identical across supported platforms, allowing employees to easily switch between devices connected to an account.

Being able to easily export data from the app to payroll software like Quickbooks, or in PDF and Excel formats, will significantly reduce time spent transferring data.

Pricing

Be wary of apps offering unusually low retail pricing plans, whether up-front or subscription-based. Many of these apps will recoup their losses by forcing users to deal with a constant barrage of distracting and annoying ads that defeat the entire purpose of an efficiency-enhancing app.

Intrusive ads make it difficult for employees to use the software efficiently, and despite higher costs, we recommend avoiding software that contains advertising space. You’ll make up the difference with ad-free apps’ significantly higher effectiveness.

Privacy

It’s undeniable that at the moment, any form of “tracking” as it relates to mobile apps is considered a dirty word. Until they understand the benefits to themselves, employees are likely to be skeptical at the implementation of a GPS tracking procedure. This is why it’s of the utmost importance to choose an app that makes very clear its privacy guidelines and protections. Transparency is key.

Of course, always defer to your state’s specific GPS tracking laws. But two recommended practices for GPS tracking by app are to make sure to have the tracking policy and purpose in writing and to only track employees when they’re on the clock.

Conclusion

It’s not rocket science. And that’s the point.

Employee GPS tracking offers an innovative approach to increasing productivity in the workplace by optimizing time and attendance processes.

Without it, you’re losing money and risking your reputation.

The only question left is what are you waiting for?