Geofencing: Why You Need it For Your Distributed Workforce

September 20, 2018 By Julie Kramer - Leave a comment

shutterstock_461677564You may have a nodding acquaintance with the word “geofencing,” without really knowing how it works. But if you manage a mobile or distributed workforce, it’s in your company’s best interest to learn. Because this oddly-named technology—when offered in conjunction with a mobile time tracking app—is powerfully effective at:

  • Reducing everyday labor costs
  • Preventing time theft, even on loosely-managed jobsites
  • Ensuring employees are paid accurately for their work time.

For employers with a distributed workforce—take notice, construction, janitorial, staffing and landscaping industries!—geofencing technology just may be your next must-have workforce management solution.   

OK, So What is a “Geofence,” Really?

Broadly speaking, a geofence is a virtual perimeter created around an actual geographic area via technology—aka, software. A geofence is created via GPS or another technology that uses geographic coordinates to identify specific global locations.

Once a geofence is erected, the software will recognize whenever the boundaries are crossed by one of the system’s users—typically through an app on a mobile device. This triggers a pre-defined response from the system.

There are numerous applications for geofencing technology. For example, if you download your favorite retail store’s app and then walk within the geofenced radius of one of its storefronts, you may instantly receive a coupon or offer on your smartphone. 

Another example: if a toddler wearing a child locator bracelet wanders outside the geofence his/her parents have erected, the parents may immediately receive a text alert that their escape artist is on the move and they better get moving, too. 

Similarly, for an employer with a distributed workforce and scattered worksites, a mobile time tracking app with geofencing technology can take employee time and attendance tracking to a whole new level of accuracy.

The Rise of Mobile Time Tracking Apps with GPS

A growing number of organizations are using mobile time tracking apps to monitor the comings and goings of their mobile, distributed workforce. According to Sierra-Cedar’s 2018-2019 HR Systems Survey, mobile time and attendance technology is among the top two mobile HR processes employers are adopting at a rapid pace.

How mobile time tracking apps work: instead of signing a paper timesheet (which are notoriously easy to fudge), workers clock in and out via an app on their company smartphone or tablet, or in some cases, on their own devices.

With mobile time tracking apps, precise clock in/clock out times are captured automatically, so workers can’t pad their hours—the most common type of time theft. According to a time and attendance survey by Software Advice, 43% of employees admit to exaggerating their work hours.

(Furthermore, some advanced mobile time tracking apps also feature biometric facial recognition technology that uses the smart phone’s camera to verify the worker’s identity. This prevents “buddy punching”—another form of time theft when one worker clocks in or out for another.)

In addition, most mobile time and attendance apps feature GPS tracking capabilities—i.e., they leverage a mobile device’s GPS system to capture the precise geographic coordinates from which a worker clocked out or in. And when you add geofencing technology, that’s only the beginning. 

Curses Foiled Again: Mobile Time Tracking Apps with Geofencing  

When mobile time tracking apps offer geofencing capabilities, employers can set GPS coordinate-based perimeters around each of their worksites, then assign workers to each geofence within their system. These can be changed and updated as projects and jobsites change.

As a result, if a worker tries to clock in or out from outside the worksite boundary—say, they’re running late or leave work early—the system immediately flags the punch for managerial review.     

Some mobile time tracking apps will also clock out a worker automatically the moment they cross the geofence perimeter. This thwarts those who “forget” to punch out, either intentionally or accidentally, ending the problem of open punches.

In short, when it comes to time and attendance, geofencing technology ensures your mobile, distributed workforce is where it should be, preventing time theft, shaving labor costs and confirming that your workers are paid accurately. 

Geofencing Technology Is Closer than You Think   

If you think your employer could benefit from a mobile time tracking app with geofencing technology, you don’t need to go far to learn more. EPAY System’s powerful Mobile PunchTM app offers advanced geofencing capabilities, facial recognition technology and much more. Plus, its award-winning time and attendance system is the leading choice of employers with a mobile, distributed workforce.

Want to learn more—fast? Watch our one-minute Mobil Punch video. When your workforce is on the move, employers need to move quickly, too.

Filed Under: Time Tracking