4 Considerations When Implementing GPS Tracking Of Employees At Work
12 May 2021
Regardless of whether you are new to the job or a seasoned professional, most of us like to think that we excel at our jobs. Rarely do we welcome the idea of our supervisors or anyone for that matter to be looking over our shoulders, scrutinising the work that we do.
Then comes the introduction of Global Positioning System, or GPS for short. The GPS was originally invented by the United States military and was only allowed civilian use in the 1980s. Today, GPS is an integral part of our lives – it is incorporated in social media platforms, in our vehicles and there is also an increasing number of employees that are leveraging it to track employees while they are at work.
Strange and invasive as it may seems, employers today are implementing new technologies to track employees – a new way of gathering insights on productivity levels, employee safety and driving internal efficiencies within operations.
However, it is imperative to bear in mind the perspective of employees and the risks associated with GPS tracking of employees. Here are some ethical and legal considerations when implementing GPS tracking of employees.
Labour and/or Data Privacy Laws
Before location tracking employees for work purposes, it is imperative to understand if there are any existing laws that prevents organisations from doing so. In Singapore, there is no law against organisations using GPS to track their employees. However, for organisations with employees that are based in other countries, it is crucial to find out if there are any existing state laws before implementing any location tracking actions on employees.
Have a detailed policy
Given that GPS tracking of employees can be uncomfortable for some, companies should ensure that there is a proper policy in place and enforce it on every employee to follow the same policies and procedures. For instance, will the location tracking be limited to a certain group of employees, will it be solely within work hours? These rules should be presented to all employees and reviewed annually to ensure that it complies with changes in state regulations (if any) and to support the overall organisation business in a useful way.
Personal versus company-owned devices
This is where location tracking of employees can become unclear. For company-owned devices, it is easy for organisations to track them using the office IP address, which can also come in handy when employees are not within office premises or during off-work hours. However, what about personal devices in which employees use for business purposes? In such cases, it might be helpful for organisations to develop an appropriate Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy. At the same time, it might be necessary to install some form of mobile device management software which allows IT to monitor employees’ usage of company information and if necessary, wipe the device.
Finally, communication is key. Having a robust GPS tracking policy is insufficient if employees do not understand and are unable to feedback on the policies implemented. An open communication puts employees’ minds at ease and clarifies any doubts that employees might have towards the policy.
While location tracking of employees may be a challenging policy to implement, it does come with numerous benefits including enhanced productivity levels and increased accountability for both employees and supervisors. Nonetheless, organisations should take into account all considerations including employees’ feedback before rolling out GPS tracking policy.