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Just like having a GPS system in our cars helps get us where we need to go, GPS tracking your employees can have a similar outcome. This is not the realm of science fiction—GPS tracking employees is currently in force in the workplace and, according to a study for Intuit, conducted by Kelton Global, its use is growing.

Are you wondering why small businesses would want to GPS track their workers?

Companies use it to track mileage, monitor where their staff is and protect them from harm. While many companies say participation is optional, most of the employees surveyed believe GPS tracking of workers will increase and likely become mandatory in the next five years. And, somewhat surprisingly, most staff members are just fine with that. They don’t think companies are spying on them, rather “most workers view companies that use GPS tracking in a positive light.” They don’t mind being tracked—but they want their employers to be “transparent” about how they get and use the information they collect.

GPS tracking of employees isn’t new—57% of the employees surveyed work for a company that uses GPS tracking. In some industries: the gig economy (90%), construction (77%) and tech services (68%) GPS tracking is already more commonplace.  

Why track your staff?

Businesses track their staff for various reasons, including, monitoring mileage (39%), increasing on-the-job-safety (33%), and optimizing routes to the job (29%). Only 29% of companies use it to monitor employees’ locations.

Other uses include optimizing efficiency—27% use it to coordinate employee jobs based on location, 22% use it to help schedule appointment and 19% use it to set up areas of coverage. 

Most of the employees in the survey were told by their employers being tracked by GPS was a “job necessity.” While 47% were told before they started working, 14% found out during the job interview, 15% were told once they accepted the job, and 27% of found out when they started working.

Employees who live in cities are more comfortable being tracked than those who live in suburban and rural areas. Younger employees are also more comfortable than older ones, with being tracked.

GPS tracking concerns

Not all employees are totally comfortable being tracked—60% worry their data could be shared and 41% are concerned their personal info would be spread around their workplace.

To ease these fears, it’s important for business owners to be transparent—95% of workers say they know when they’re being tracked. And most “trust their employers are only tracking the information they need.” A mere 15% are worried their companies are using GPS tracking to get personal information about them.

The positive aspects of being tracked

Many employees see the benefits of being tracked—it helps them be more efficient (25%), more motivated (24%) and increases their productivity (22%). And 30% say GPS tracking shows their companies how hard they work, 16% give tracking credit for helping them get a raise or promotion (13%) and 30% say being tracked helps them get a more accurate paycheck. In fact, 53% of workers say they’d be more inclined to accept a job with GPS tracking if it ensured they got paid accurately.

On the other hand, some workers are worried their employers are tracking their efficiency and that it can be used against them.

GPS employee tracking—the future

A lot of employees (69%) think the use of GPS tracking is on the rise—and they’re ok with that. In fact, employees give credit to GPS tracking for helping them feel safe at work (48%), motivated (28%), relieved (23%) and empowered (17%).

Going forward, employees hope more privacy laws will address the use of GPS tracking in the workplace, better protecting their personal privacy.

Most employees think using GPS technology will eliminate the need to go into an office since employers will know where they are and what they’re doing.

If you decide to adopt GPS tracking at your small business, be sure to let your employees know you’re not trying to be “Big Brother.” Instead, emphasize the many benefits GPS tracking offers them.

If you want to explore this—and other new workplace technologies, your SCORE mentor can help. Contact one today.

About the Author(s)

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship and SmallBizDaily.com.

CEO, GrowBiz Media
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