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Resource Center / Employment Laws

Employee Geofencing: How Does it Work?

Learn how geofencing technology can help make time tracking easier and more accurate, along with simplifying things like payroll processing and invoicing.

The letter "J" for Justworks.
Justworks
Nov 22, 20225 minutes

If you have non-exempt employees, it’s critically important to keep accurate time records. After all, that’s how you can ensure your team members are being paid properly. Using an automated time tracking system improves accuracy over manual time tracking, and also helps keep management from having to track down time records or manually enter hours for payroll or billing purposes.

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The best time tracking solutions are GPS-enabled apps that provide geofencing capabilities. It can be challenging to keep up with where employees are and what they’re doing, especially if your workforce is remote or hybrid, or if you have employees who travel for work or otherwise work off-site. Geofencing makes it easy to keep up with where your employees are. It can even help ensure that employees are where they should be when they clock in or out.

What Is Employee Geofencing?

Used as part of a comprehensive GPS-enabled time and attendance system like Justworks Hours, employee geofencing is a smart solution that makes it easy for employees to keep up with when and where their employees are working. Justworks Hours is an app-based GPS-enabled timekeeping system that allows employees to clock in and out of work from any location. This capability is very valuable for companies with a hybrid workforce comprised of remote employees, team members who travel for work, and others who work out of a set location.

Benefits of Geofencing for Time Tracking

When you use a timekeeping system that includes geofencing capabilities, not only are you able to get information about when your employees work, but you can also easily get data on where employees are when they clock in and out. Having easy access to this kind of information can benefit employers in several ways:

  • Geofencing makes it easy to determine if employees are at the correct work location when they clock in and/or out.

  • With geofencing capabilities, it’s easy to see if hourly employees who are scheduled to be working from home are actually at home when they clock in and out.

  • For remote employees who can work from anywhere, geofencing provides a way to tell if they are where they have access to the equipment they need to do their jobs.

  • It’s easy to tell where employees have driven company vehicles and where they are during the workday when your timekeeping system includes geofencing technology.

  • Geofencing zones can be set up so that people can only clock in or out when they are within a certain distance of their worksite. This ensures that employees are clocking in when they are actually reporting at work, instead of clocking in from the road when they are running late.

  • With a geofencing zone, the system can automatically send employees a notification reminding them to clock out once they have left the area at the end of the workday.

  • Geofencing tied to a specific employee ensures that employees cannot clock in and out for another employee.

  • You can label geofencing zones with specific job codes, so that hours worked within a certain area are automatically allocated to the correct budgets or invoices.

Would Geofencing Be Beneficial to Your Business?

Would your business benefit from using geofencing technology? That depends on the needs of your business operations, including where — and how — your employees work.

If your employees mostly work within one location, geofencing may not benefit your company (though automated time tracking certainly can). That is, unless you’re concerned with employees clocking in when they are not actually onsite. However, if your team is scattered throughout different workplaces, or if some or all of your employees work remotely, this feature may be very beneficial. Geofencing can be very helpful in a wide variety of settings, such as:

  • Businesses that have employees who regularly, or at times, work remotely

  • Travel operators that employ guides who lead tour groups in various locations

  • Businesses with sales teams who call on prospects or customers at their locations

  • Companies with a fleet of drivers, such as moving companies and delivery services

  • Organizations that need to be notified when a company vehicle leaves a job site

  • Entities that need to know if unauthorized personnel have accessed off-limits areas

Essential Geofencing Considerations

If you’re thinking about using geofencing as part of an overall time tracking solution, it’s important to think through how to best utilize the tool before you move forward with implementation. For example:

  • If some employees change locations frequently, such as going to multiple client sites within a workday, a geofencing zone may not be ideal for them.

  • Constant phone-based GPS tracking can use a lot of battery and data. If you don’t provide phones to employees, consider how you might need to compensate them for this.

  • Employees may have concerns about your use of tracking technology. Let them know that you'll use geofencing only when they are clocked in, for business purposes only.

  • Be transparent and provide notice about how the company is using geofencing technology. Employees should always be aware of how and when the device tracks them.

  • Be sure to obtain consent from your employees before you start tracking their location during their work shift.

  • Make sure the geofencing app only tracks employees when they clock in for their shift, rather than monitoring them 24/7.

  • Check the privacy laws of your state, and other states where you have employees, to verify if there are any restrictions on location tracking for work purposes.

Putting Geofencing to Work for Your Company

Are you thinking that a GPS-enabled timekeeping solution might be right for your business? Using geofencing technology in a way that makes sense for your company can help make time tracking easier and more accurate, and it can also play a role in simplifying key business processes like payroll processing and invoicing.

Not every company will need to use geofencing the same way. Some may use the technology differently for various groups of employees, or they may change it up by project. Fortunately, Justworks Hours allows administrators to customize settings to utilize geofencing and other app capabilities to best meet their needs.

Are you ready to learn more about how the automated timekeeping and geofencing features of Justworks Hours can benefit your company? Contact us to schedule a demo or sign up for a 30-day free trial.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.