4 minute read. Last updated January 17, 2020.
Need to track offsite employees?
Mobile time and attendance apps help you track team members wherever they are working. Employees use a smartphone or tablet to clock in from any location. The app is synced with (or a part of) a time and attendance system or Human Resources Management System (HRMS).
Companies with home health aides, field service workers, and delivery drivers use mobile time tracking apps.
Don’t Get a Time Tracking System Without Geofencing
Researching time tracking systems? Consider geofencing. Don’t go half-way. If you have mobile employees, there is no reason to use a system without geofencing.
9 Benefits of Geofencing for Mobile Employee Time Tracking
- Identify employees who clock in or out outside of their authorized location
- Receive a notification in real time if a punch occurs outside the fence
- Generate reports of punch times and locations for a specific employee or team
- Track employee hours for accurate payroll
- Retain employee time cards for FLSA recordkeeping
- Enforce time and attendance policies
- Ensure employees know they are at the correct location
- Track employee hours per project or job location
- Track employee mileage for company reimbursement
Geofencing Provides Ultimate Oversight
If you need to know if employees clock in and out at the right location, geofencing is the best way to do that.
Before we proceed, let’s back up a little.
What is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a tracking capability used in concert with a pre-set virtual boundary. The virtual boundary is called a geofence. It is based on an actual physical location.
The Location Triggers an Action
Identifying a virtual boundary is the first component. The second piece is the action that occurs. For example, a monitoring app can send a text to a parent when their child arrives home. A marketing app can text a coupon when you approach a business location.
How Does the App Track Location?
Geofencing requires GPS, RFID (radio-frequency identification), Wi-Fi or cellular data to track the location of a mobile device or RFID tag.
How Do You Use Geofencing For Employee Time Tracking?
In the employee time tracking app, draw a geofence around a site on a map. Most apps let you identify multiple geofences. Assign employees to designated areas.
The app tracks their location relative to the geofence.
Do You Have a Problem With Time Theft?
Employees can’t clock in when they aren’t in their authorized work location. For additional time theft prevention, pair geofencing with schedule enforcement. Schedule enforcement restricts early or late punches. You will have two safeguards; 1. Geofencing restricts out-of-bounds punches. 2. Schedule enforcement restricts out-of-schedule punches.
Allow Managers to Manage
Managers are more effective when they don’t have to monitor mobile employees. Spend more time training, mentoring, and tracking projects. The system sends an alert if an employee punches in outside of the geofence. Managers can focus only on problem punches, not the in-bounds punches. Managing by exception saves time and improves efficiency.
Manage Fluctuating Daily Service Schedules
Do your mobile employees serve clients directly? Geofencing helps you manage fluctuating daily service schedules. If an employee gets stuck in traffic, you can see where they are. They don’t have to call you from the road, risking safety and tying up a phone line. Know immediately if you have to modify the appointment schedule.
Geofencing Implementation Tips
If you are planning to use geofencing, here are issues to address before the rollout.
1. Inform Employees
Inform employees that you are introducing geofencing. If you don’t tell them and they find out later, they will feel like they are being spied on. Don’t erode their trust. Explain all the benefits discussed previously. You don’t want them to have the misperception that it will only be used to reprimand late or absent employees.
2. Review Mobile Device Policies/Cell Phone Plan
A geofencing app may use mobile data and can affect battery life. If your employees use their own mobile devices, take this into consideration. If you provide devices to your mobile employees, review your business cell phone plan. You might want to change your plan before using a geofencing app.
3. Teach Employees How to Use The System
Time tracking apps are super easy to use. It may seem unnecessary to give formal training. But you can’t assume that every employee and manager understands exactly what to do. Train them thoroughly: how to punch in and out, how to view time cards, and how to request time off. If your system syncs with scheduling, show them how to view their schedule and request a shift trade.
4. Review Time and Attendance Policies
You should have explained time and attendance policies to employees when they were hired. Remind employees of the policies before implementing geofencing. Include the policies in your employee handbook. Ensure that managers treat all team members equally when it comes to time and attendance.
By Liz Strikwerda