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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, manage staff better at different locations and identify inefficiencies in workloads and routes. Access our knowledge base to learn more about using GPS tracking as an admin or manager. 


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 number 1 reason employers implemented GPS tracking.
  • Accountability: You and your staff will have the exact data about what they’ve been working on.
  • Efficiency: Knowing your employees location can help you assign more people to the right place to get jobs done faster.
  • Documentation:See when your employees arrive at a job and leave – backed up with data.
  • Flexibility: Feel at ease when employees use company vehicles or work from home. With increased flexibility comes increased employee morale.

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: Attach 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, 95% of TSheets mobile app customers use less than 30 MB of data per month.

*Based on anonymised TSheets customer mobile data usage collected between 1 July and 30 November, 2019

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 that TSheets is using the phone’s location “in the background”. This ensures 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. Employers and 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.


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 work 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 loses mobile signal or shuts off their phone while clocked in, will GPS points still be recorded?

Admins and managers can only view GPS points when the employee’s device is online, however, 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.

See how TSheets can help you manage your mobile workforce