Understanding Employee Location Tracking for Your Business

Employee location tracking services provide you with balanced and effective employee management. But what information are you allowed to obtain from apps?

The use of employee location tracking apps in the workplace is on the rise — and for good reason. They provide real-time visibility that simplifies management of distributed workforces, including lone workers, by letting you see when they clock in, when they clock out, where they are and what they’re working on. These apps are easily downloaded onto an employee’s smartphone or tablet, and eliminate the expense of purchasing additional devices. Users simply enable location services and agree to data sharing.

As you might expect, these location tracking apps also come with their own set of legalities regarding the method and use of the data they collect. So, it’s critical the location tracking technology you put into place is compliant with the legislative demands of the Privacy Act of 1988 as governed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Location data and the law

The Australian Privacy Act is comprised of 13 Australian Privacy Principles. Simply put, these 13 principles govern the standards, rights and obligations around the collection and use of personal information, an organisation’s accountability, and the rights of individuals to access their personal information.

Principles-based laws “give an organisation or agency flexibility to tailor their personal information handling practices to their business models and the diverse needs of individuals.” These principles cover concerns your employees might have about their privacy, and how and when their information can be used.

Be sure to select an employee location app that limits the collection of a user’s information to working hours — and that also seeks consent from the user to share data. For example, when the employee books on for the day, the employee app requests access to location services and by giving acknowledgement, the employee is giving consent to collect this data.

Employee devices and the law

In addition to the location data collected, data protection laws also address how data is obtained. Typically, location tracking apps use the employee’s own smartphone or tablet. Once signed in, employees are able to review routes and build efficiency into their days — and even make check calls when needed. However, when it comes to getting location data about your employee, you’ll want to be sure the employee location tracking app does not talk to the hardware or device directly, but instead requests location coordinates from location services.

Whenever the employee clocks on, makes a check call or clocks off, the app requests and receives the last known location of the device. If the employee is not where they are meant to be, the transaction will show the employer where they are.

Tracking technology accuracy

As with any technology, accuracy is critical — especially when it forms the foundation for reaching service levels, tracking employee activities and ensuring overall performance. Regarding accuracy, there isn’t a significant difference between Android and iOS devices. Both use a variety of location technologies, the most popular being GPS (Global Positioning System) and A-GPS (Advanced/Assisted-GPS), which include mobile phone towers, WiFi networks and Bluetooth beacons in addition to GPS. Check to see how frequently the employee location tracking app requests location data to increase the location data you’re able to collect.

In addition to knowing how employee location tracking apps can benefit your organisation, it’s important to understand the legalities that may apply. TEAM Software is dedicated to ensuring our software solutions meet the ever-changing needs of our customers. While we’re committed to keeping you informed, it’s important to do your own research and consult your own legal and tax advisors with specific questions or concerns.