Privacy is not the number one concern for employees with GPS tracking in the workplace – Geospatial World


The expansion of technology in the workplace means there are more ways for employers to use employee performance data to improve overall operations. But with more insight, there are more and more responsibilities and challenges in ensuring respect for confidentiality and ethical practices.

In a world report Comprising four commissioned GPS tracking studies in the US, Canada, Australia and UK from TSheets by QuickBooks, 2,500 employees reveal what concerns them most about GPS tracking in the workplace. There also appears to be a knowledge gap between perceived threats and reality among employees who have and have not experienced technology on the job.

Helping Hand: Most Employees Report Positive GPS Experience

Across all countries surveyed, 1 in 3 employees have used GPS tracking for their work, suggesting a remarkably consistent rate of technology adoption. For those surveyed whose location was tracked by GPS at work, the majority qualified their experience as “positive”. The number of those at the opposite end of that spectrum was, on average, only 6 percent. The other big reveal is how tech-neutral the second highest majority in this equation, averaging 36%.

The numbers changed dramatically when the same question was asked of employees who haven’t used GPS tracking at work. In Canada and the UK, at least half predict a negative experience, followed by Australia at 47 percent and the US at 38 percent. An average of 11 percent predicts a positive result, but again, an average of 42 percent of respondents in all countries surveyed say they would be indifferent.

Battery drain and data usage outweigh privacy concerns

It is common to see the issue of privacy raised when talking about GPS tracking in the workplace. In the TSheets report, employees in the UK and Australia who haven’t used GPS at work rank privacy as their top concern. In Canada, micromanagement tops the list, while US respondents cite the use of smartphone data. Once again, these are employees who express their expected concerns.

For employees who have used GPS at work in the US, Canada, and UK, their main concerns are battery and data usage. However, privacy remains the # 1 fear among Australian employees. This corresponds to the country with the highest number of people reporting a “negative” experience using GPS at work. Overall, the data suggests that American employees are the least concerned and that there is no hard-line resistance to GPS tracking technology among most workers.

Employees agree increased accuracy, other benefits

GPS tracking is often seen as a one-sided argument with benefits reserved for employers. But employees in all countries surveyed, whether or not they have used GPS tracking at work, seem to disagree. They say the technology benefits them by “tracking travel time and mileage” accurately, ensuring they are paid back what is owed to them. That’s not all. Employees add that GPS tracking helps increase safety, efficiency, accountability and streamlines payroll systems.

Respondents also disclose enabling GPS for non-work-related applications and, on average, only 1 in 10 would ‘never use apps that require location services’, implying that most are not worried. to share their position for the right reasons.

How to know if GPS tracking is right for your business

When it comes to technology, the writing is often on the wall. In 1964, Jacques Ellul, French philosopher, predicted: “Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the determining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all. human activity “.

If you are consider GPS tracking for your workplace, think about these questions first.

  1. Do you have a mobile workforce?

Often times, time theft and wage fraud are the result of unintentional human error, especially for businesses with mobile workers and seasonal workers. Solve this problem with the help of a GPS time tracking solution that will automatically tell you who, what, where and when.

  1. Is employee safety a concern?

If you have employees scattered around sites, using heavy machinery – think construction workers, landscapers, or road workers – take each of them into account and know they are safe in an emergency, natural or man-made, is immeasurable peace of mind.

  1. Does your business need a quick response time?

Chris and Allie Isaacson run SERVPRO from Boise, a cleaning and catering franchise with more than 2,000 locations around the world. Chris knows that every time the phone rings, he’s someone who needs help. The visibility provided by GPS tracking allows them to effectively reassign and distribute team members, which for their clients can be the difference between surviving and thriving.

3 things to consider before, during and after implementing GPS tracking

If you’ve decided to implement GPS tracking for your business, be sure to check out each of the following.

  1. Seek legal advice

You can research a lot on your own. But there are laws around employee privacy, and they can vary widely by location and jurisdiction. In TSheets survey, 38% of UK employees say they weren’t able to turn off GPS tracking on their own and it was on all the time, even when not working . This is clearly a privacy breach on the part of their employer. Make sure you are on the right side of the law.

  1. Notice due and explanation

Overall, it is good practice to inform employees about GPS tracking in advance through all possible communication channels. The notice should include a statement to justify the practice, how location tracking works and how the information is used, among other things. Many respondents to the TSheets survey were not notified prior to the implementation, which immediately raised red flags.

  1. Name a contact

Once the policy and enforcement is in place, remember to have a point of contact for employees to ask questions and concerns. A centralized person in charge ensures consistency to avoid speculation and colder conversations that will only increase confusion and communication problems.

In the case of GPS tracking at work, it is clear that knowledge is empowering, as evidenced by the perceived threats to reality between employees who have not used GPS and those who have. And that responsibility lies with the employer, as educating employees is the only way to ensure that everyone is on board to reap the collective benefits.


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