GPS tracking technology has become increasingly popular among employers with remote workers. The use of GPS technology by employers allows them to monitor the location and activities of their employees. While GPS technology provides benefits in terms of keeping track of workers’ mobility and ensuring better time management, there are potential dangers to employers’ implementation of GPS tracking policies. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of GPS tracking in the workplace, along with best practices for implementing a GPS tracking policy that protects both employers and employees.
The Pros of GPS Tracking
Enhanced Efficiency and Productivity: Employers can use GPS tracking technology to remotely observe workers’ locations and movements, enhancing control of the branch in question. This allows managers to quickly identify issues and take corrective action to boost productivity. GPS tracking software allows employers to monitor employee movements in real-time and identify unnecessary detours or prolonged breaks.
Effective Communication: Employers can use GPS technology to communicate more effectively with workers. For instance, when employees are working in the field, supervisors can communicate with them about changes to the work schedule, customer requests, or other critical updates that may impact their workday. With GPS tracking, employees are more accessible to managers who can send texts, emails, or other communication to promote better teamwork.
Improved Safety: Employers can use GPS to monitor work errands and keep track of lone workers who may be at risk. In case of an emergency, employers can quickly contact workers and provide assistance or medical aid. Moreover, as many vehicles come equipped with GPS technology, employees driving any company-owned vehicle can also benefit from additional safety amenities, such as remote speed monitoring, engine diagnostics, parking assistant, and other features.
Better Resource Management: Employers can use GPS tracking software to plan more efficient routes for supplies, equipment, and other resources. This enables businesses to decrease fuel consumption, carbon footprint, and transportation costs. Additionally, employers can use GPS tracking to schedule pick-up and delivery times avoiding traffic jams, highway closures, and weather-related risks.
The Cons of GPS Tracking
Invasion of Privacy: A significant drawback of GPS tracking is an invasion of employees’ privacy. GPS tracking reveals location information, as well as information about what employees are doing during their work hours. Employers need to provide clear information on what data will be collected, why it is being collected, and how it will be used, or run the risk of breaching employee trust.
Legal Implications: The legal implications of GPS tracking are complex and often require detailed analysis of applicable laws and regulations. Employers are responsible for ensuring that GPS tracking policies comply with applicable privacy, data protection, and employment laws. Employers must obtain employees’ informed consent or inform the workers when they are being tracked.
Potential Trust Issues: GPS tracking can also lead to trust issues, as employees may feel like their every move is being monitored, and that their employer doesn’t trust them. This can lead to negative morale, decreased motivation, and often result in top talent searching for alternative employment options.
Limited Effectiveness: While GPS tracking has many advantages, it may not always produce guaranteed improvements in productivity. If employees feel that their privacy is constantly being invaded, or their employers do not trust them, morale, motivation, and productivity can be adversely affected. Additionally, GPS signals can be disrupted based on location, signal strength, proximity to high rises, or atmospheric disruptions. Thus, GPS tracking may be unreliable based on the location, time, and other factors.
Guidelines for Effective GPS Tracking in the Workplace
When considering GPS tracking, employers should take the following guidelines into consideration:
Transparency: Employers should use GPS tracking transparently and disclose in detail what data is being collected, how it is being collected, and why it is being collected. Employers could also make their privacy policies or GPS tracking agreements public.
Safeguarding Privacy: Employees should have the right to privacy, and their rights must be respected. When implementing GPS tracking policies, employers must provide clear information about who has access to employee data, how it will be used, and the measures put in place to ensure that data is securely stored, protected, and disposed of.
Consent: Employers must receive informed consent from employees before implementing GPS tracking. This includes informing workers that they will be monitored and record data related to their location and performance. Employees should be advised of how their data will be used, managed, and protected. Consent may also include the right to refuse tracking under specific circumstances or with prior notice.
Communication: Employers must ensure effective communication channels between themselves and their workers. With GPS tracking, employers can communicate with their employees from remote locations and without delay. Employers can use SMS or text messages, emails or messaging apps to send notifications, announcments or relevant information.
Training: Employers must train their workers on how GPS tracking will be used, maintained, and monitored. Workers should know what to expect and how GPS tracking policies work.
Business Justification: Employers must have a legitimate business reason to use GPS tracking. This could include better tracking of vehicles or tracking of employee locations for safety purposes, or for the effective management of lone workers.
GPS tracking is an incredible technology that enhances monitoring productivity and the safety of employees in the workplace. However, proper guideline implementation and compliance with data privacy and employment legislation are essential to protecting employee privacy and trust. Employers can use GPS tracking software to increase productivity, save time and money on transportation, and improve worker safety, but this must be done transparently, responsibly and through informed consent. By following these guidelines, employers can implement GPS tracking policies that are beneficial for their enterprise while safeguarding worker privacy and trust.