Five or ten years ago, GPS tracking was considered a breach of our personal privacy and also quite unethical. However, in this new age of smart tech, we as a society are becoming a lot more comfortable with GPS tracking when it's on our terms. Using physical maps and journey books is now entirely unheard of, as people opt to use smartphone apps to plan journeys and travel whilst on holidays. Furthermore, the new gig economy and growth of businesses like Uber and Deliveroo exemplify how reliant we have become on GPS tracking. Despite the integration of GPS tracking into our daily lives, there remain a lot of apprehensions when employers approach employees about GSP tracking in the workplace. However, there are many ways in which GPS tracking in the workplace can be beneficial for both employees and employers.
What’s legal and illegal
It’s important to know the legality of GPS tracking, as this can help us feel safer when discussing the topic in our workplace. It is illegal for an employer to install a GPS tracking device within an employee's vehicle, work or personal, without the person knowing. If a GPS tracker needs to be fitted within your work vehicle, you will consent to this within your employment contract or in an agreement signed further down the line. It is also illegal for employers to track your whereabouts outside working hours. People begrudge GPS tracking as they believe their employers will ‘spy’ on them outside of working hours, but this is entirely illegal.
It’s beneficial for both parties
Gps tracking can be great for employers as it provides insight into the business and its efficiency. There is no doubt that for businesses that manage fleets of vehicles, GPS tracking allows for better budgeting and planning and, in turn, lower costs. If, for example, employers can record the mileage that is done each month, factoring in how long it has taken employees previously, this allows them to plan ahead for outgoing costs like fuel. Whilst this is great for employers, this also takes a lot of stress and pressure off employees, as they don't have to create journey reports or record their fuel usage.
GPS tracking can allow employees to be more independent, as they do not have to report back to their employer consistently. GPS tracking can also automatically send alerts to customers, letting them know their delivery is close, making drop-offs quicker and more efficient. GPS tracking also can help if drivers are in an accident or have broken down. GPS trackers can send messages to emergency services or notify the employer the vehicle is in need of repair.
More so, GPS tracking can increase efficiency for all parties. GPS tracking has made clocking in and out a lot easier for employees, as geofences can be set up to record the exact time workers return to the workplace after their shift. Geofences are areas drawn on a map, and when employees enter them, an alert is sent to the employer. This allows employees to come and go to work as they please, knowing their shifts are always accurately recorded. These records can be great to have if a payslip is incorrect. GPS tracking is great for both parties in the workplace as long as employers are open and honest with employees about what is being tracked. Employees must remember GPS trackers are tools for increasing business efficiency and nothing more.