GPS tracking and geofencing FAQs for employers

Everything employers need to know about geofencing and GPS tracking with TSheets

What are the benefits of GPS tracking?

GPS tracking tells you which employees are on the clock and where they’re located. You’ll be able to see who is closest to a customer when scheduling a new job on the fly, more effectively manage employees at various locations, identify inefficiencies in workloads and routes, and build trust by adding accountability safeguards that benefit everyone. Access our knowledge base to learn more about using GPS tracking as an admin or manager

gps grid showing current location

What business improvements can I expect to see with location tracking?

GPS tracking benefits

  • Safety: Know where employees are, no matter which job site they’re at. According to a recent survey, safety was the No. 1 reason employers implemented GPS tracking.
  • Accountability: Cut down on buddy punching and time theft by employing a tool that keeps everyone honest.
  • Efficiency: Knowing where employees are can help you assign more people to the right places to get jobs done faster.
  • Documentation: Is a customer claiming an employee didn’t show up to a job or was late? Now it’s easy to verify those claims.
  • Flexibility: Feel more confident in allowing employees to use company vehicles or work from home. With increased flexibility comes increased employee morale and a company culture of trust and accountability where everyone wins.

Geofencing benefits

  • Easy for employees: Set geofences around job sites, so employees are reminded to clock in when they get to work and clock out when they leave. Make it easy to clock into the correct task by displaying nearby job codes.
  • Less work for managers: Tie certain job codes to each geofence, so employees clock their time accurately on projects. Reduce the number of timesheet edits, so payroll isn’t delayed.

How much data does the TSheets app use?

On average, TSheets mobile app customers use about 5 MB of data per month, and 95% of TSheets mobile app customers use less than 30 MB of data per month.* Here’s how you can check how much data TSheets is using on your iPhone or Android.

*Based on TSheets customer mobile data usage collected from Feb. 1, 2018 – April 30, 2018.

How much does the TSheets app drain my battery? How do I check?

It depends. There’s no standard unit of measure for cellphone batteries. We encourage employers to read more about data and battery usage, in reference to TSheets. You can also see for yourself how much TSheets affects your battery life by going into your phone’s settings (instructions for iPhone or Android).

When does location tracking start, and how often is data gathered?

TSheets only saves location data tracked when an employee is on the clock. When the employee clocks out or goes on a break, TSheets stops sending location data to you.

Employee GPS points are recorded throughout the employee’s shift, including when they change job codes, add notes to a timesheet, clock in, or clock out. GPS points are displayed like a “breadcrumb trail,” showing where the employee was throughout the day.

With geofencing turned on, TSheets must always access an employee’s location, even when the app isn’t open. This is so the app knows when the employee has entered or exited a geofence. If geofencing is not enabled on your company’s TSheets account, employees can decline to give TSheets access to their location when they are using the app. If you require location tracking on your TSheets account, employees who decline location tracking may be clocked out. We recommend exploring alternative ways to track time using TSheets with that employee.

Can employees see everything I can see, regarding their location?

Yes, you and your employees see the same thing. If an employee wants to know what you see, you can direct them to select a timesheet to view the map. What’s visible on the map is the same thing you can see. The only things you can’t see are the geofencing notifications sent to the employee’s phone.

gps grid showing current location

Why does my or my employee’s iPhone say, “TSheets has been using my location in the background”?

If you or your employees are using an iPhone with iOS 13, you may see a notification like the one shown below. TSheets uses the phone’s location “in the background” to ensure accurate clock in and clock out times. And when geofencing is enabled on your account, TSheets can use background locations to recommend nearby job sites to clock into. Admins do not have access to employee location data when workers are off the clock. The GPS points shown in this notification are not the same GPS points admins see in TSheets when employees are clocked in.

gps_tracking_notification

How long do employee GPS points take to update in TSheets?

It can take up to 15 seconds for TSheets to receive and display a new GPS point. If an employee’s phone isn’t connected to the internet, new GPS points won’t display until the employee is back online.

Does GPS track employee locations while employees are off the clock or on a break?

No. TSheets does not gather GPS points when employees are on a break. The TSheets app may still have access to employees’ locations, but GPS points recorded off the clock or on break will never be accessible by employers or admins.

When employees clock in for the day or clock in from a break, their location data is tracked once again.

Can I choose whether location tracking is optional or required?

Yes. To make location tracking a prerequisite for an employee to track time, just go to the employee’s “mobile options” tab on your TSheets dashboard and select “require location to track time.” The employee will only be able to clock in once location tracking is enabled for TSheets on their smartphone.

Employee permissions

If an employee goes out of cell service or shuts off their phone while clocked in, will GPS points still record?

Admins and managers can only view GPS points when the employee’s device is online. However, you can rest assured that GPS points are still being recorded. Once the employee is back online, the device will sync and the GPS points will display. If the phone is turned off, TSheets can only track time, not locations.

What happens if my employee turns off location services while they’re clocked in?

If your company settings require GPS to be turned on while an employee is on the clock, and an employee turns location services off while they’re clocked in, the employee will be clocked out and prompted to turn location services back on to clock in.

Can I apply my GPS tracking preferences globally and to individuals?

Yes. Our GPS location tracking feature can be turned on or off for employees on an individual basis, within groups, or companywide.

Can employees see each other’s GPS points?

Employees can view their own GPS points, but only administrators, managers, and anyone granted the “Manage Timesheets for All Employees” permission can see another employee’s GPS locations.

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