Time theft is pervasive in today’s work environment, especially in remote work settings where direct supervision is lacking. Recent data unveils the worrying frequency of this workplace menace, accentuating the need for business owners to implement the best geofencing apps. One study revealed that 21% of your employees add 30 minutes to 60 minutes or more to their actual work hours.
The best geofence time clock app streamlines time tracking. It eliminates offsite and buddy punching, two of the most commonly used time theft tactics. Doing so ensures fair reimbursement and saves your company a lump sum. Remember: an average employee adds 20 minutes to their shift, and you pay them $1,500 a year for work they didn’t do.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the five best employee tracking apps that use geofencing to help you find a solution to eradicate time theft. But first, let’s get the basics out of our way.
Looking to stop offsite and buddy punching and don’t know how a geofencing app can help?
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A geofence is a virtual boundary marked on a map around a job site: geofencing is the process of creating that invisible boundary. Today’s apps use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a global positioning system (GPS), cellular data signals, and Wi-Fi to make the boundary.
Think of a geofence like a perimeter wall around your worksite. Since this perimeter wall is digital, you can dictate what happens when the employee enters or leaves the enclosed area. For example, you can configure the GPS time tracking app to clock employees in when they enter the geofence and clock them out when they exit.
Different geofencing apps support different automation, and we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details of how each app works to help you find one that meets your needs.
Benefits of Geofencing in Time Tracking
Geofencing may sound simple, but it’s beneficial for companies with a salaried or hourly workforce. One of the key benefits of a time clock app with geofencing is that it significantly improves the accuracy of employee time.
According to statistics, the cost of offsite and buddy punching can be as high as 7% of your company’s gross annual payroll. Your company can save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by eliminating offsite punching.
Geofencing lets you configure the timesheet app to clock in employees only when they are within the job site. As a result, employees running late can’t clock on the way. On the other hand, team members won’t be tempted to leave some minutes before the shift ends.
In addition, geofencing enables you to send employees timely notifications. You can set the tracking system to send employees automatic notification to prompt them to clock in as they report for work and clocks out as they leave.
What Makes the Best Geofencing App for Employees?
Having geofence capabilities isn’t the be-all and end-all because the geofence can’t help on its own. The app should also come with reliable time-tracking features, GPS location tracking, reporting capability, and integration with relevant software. Here’s a sneak peek of the geofence apps that tick the right boxes:
Timeero — Best Geofencing App to Eliminate Offsite and Buddy Punching
Hubstaff — Best Time Tracking app for Small businesses
OnTheClock — Time Clock Software with Scheduling
AllGeo — Geofencing App with No Facial Recognition
HeloTracks — Best Goefencing for Dispatch and Distribution Companies
5 Best Geofencing Apps For Employees
These GPS employee tracker apps aren’t built equal: their geofencing tools work differently, and the features they bring to the table are different, too. We tested these apps, and we’ll divulge details about how each works while highlighting its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s dive straight in, starting with Timeero — the best GPS tracker with geofence.
1. Timeero — Best Geofencing App to Eliminate Offsite and Buddy Punching
Timeero seals all the loopholes your employees might use to fudge their time. With features such as geofencing and facial recognition, the app can thwart offsite punching, buddy punching, and other time-theft tactics.
Its intuitively designed and user-friendly web app makes it easy for business owners to create geofences. The Android and iOS apps are easy to use, even for the non-tech-savvy employees in your workforce.
In addition, Timeero integrates with your payroll system to expedite payroll processing. You can import FLSA-compliant worksheets to the payroll system and pay employees in minutes. It minimizes human errors, ensuring accurate invoicing and fair employee reimbursement.
Creating the Geofence
Setting a job’s geofence is child's play with Timeero. To that end, you only need to tick the “require geofencing” under the job’s location details when creating a Timeero job. Just bear in mind that jobs can have a geofence, but tasks cannot.
The geofence can be between 100 meters and 1000 meters in radius. We recommend setting a smaller geofence radius — small enough to cover the physical boundaries of your job site.
You can configure Timeero to send smartphone notifications - clock-in or out reminders when your employees arrive or leave the worksite. This way, you can be sure they won’t forget about their punches, ensuring that your employees' time cards are always accurate. For improved workplace accountability, you can enable the “require user to be within geofence to clock in.” That’s the last piece of the Timeero jigsaw puzzle. When you activate this option, employees must be within the defined job area boundaries to clock in. Otherwise, any attempt to clock in outside the geofence will be futile.
However, you can still leave this option unactivated. In this case, if an employee tries to clock in outside the geofence, Timeero sends them a warning “you clocked in/out outside the job area.” However, instead of locking them out, the system allows them to clock in but flags the action and records it on the employee's timesheet.
Another option to improve time tracking accuracy is automatic clock out, which clocks employees out when they exceed work hours. You can also configure Timeero to notify employees to clock in and out 10 minutes before their shift starts or 10 minutes before their shift ends.
While geofencing ends offsite punching, it doesn’t address buddy punching, a devious time theft tactic that 23% of employee use. Thankfully, Timeero kiosk supports facial recognition to end buddy punching. You don’t need to invest in computers and tablets: instead, you can authorize some employee’s or manager devices to be Timeero kiosks.
It doesn’t require additional investment as it works seamlessly with employee mobile devices: Android or iPhone.
Other Timeero Features
GPS time tracker
Real-time employee location tracking
30-day free trial, price starts from $4 per user per month
2. Hubstaff -- Best Time Tracking App for Small businesses with Geofence
Hubstaff combines essential time-tracking software with geofencing to tackle employee time theft problems. If you need an app to streamline time tracking, project workflows, and workforce management, Hubstaff ticks the boxes.
Creating the Geofence
Setting the geofence with Hubstaff is as easy as adding job sites. The app requires you to name the job site, enter the address and select the geofence radius between 50 and 3,000 meters. As always, the shorter the geofence radius, the better.
Hubstaff’s geofencing automation is straightforward. But before you can set automation rules, you must first add employees and assign them tasks. Once that’s done, you can add automatic timer reminders to dictate what will happen when an employee crosses the geofence.
There are three rules: You can set Hubstaff to start or stop the timer when an employee enters or exit the geofence. You can also have the app send a reminder to nudge the employee to punch in or out. Lastly, you can set it to do nothing, which isn’t great because employee timesheets might be error-laden.
We tested these options, and they work as they say on the tin. Besides setting the rules, you have to specify the employees and projects they apply to. However, doing so is a walk in the park as you only have to pick employees and projects from a drop-down menu.
Hubstaff is cut out for your small business if you want to end offsite punching and enhance distributed team's productivity. However, it doesn’t offer face ID recognition or fingerprint sign-in, and it could be a playground for buddy punchers.
Other Hubstaff Features
GPS location tracking app
14-day trial, Free plan for one user, Premium plans start from $5.83 per user per month
3. OnTheClock -- Time Clock Software with Scheduling
OnTheClock is another reliable time and GPS tracker with geofence. One thing, though, this app isn’t as intuitive as Timeero or Hubstaff. It’s crammed with features, and it might take even a seasoned user some time to find a way around it.
Creating the Geofence
The “location’ tab is the action area when setting the OnTheClock geofence. Here, you can specify location names and select the punch location. The app lets you set the job area using specific coordinates (latitude and longitude).
While we like the accuracy it accords users when setting job location, it can get tedious. If you’re unsure about the site coordinates, you have to visit the job area to get the coordinates. Alternatively, you must move the map pin to set the locations. The geofence radius can be between 100 meters and 10,000 meters.
OnTheClock punch automation can be tricky to set up. Unlike Timeero, you have to set automation on a per-employee basis, which can be tedious, especially for companies with hundreds of employees.
That foible aside, the app offers helpful punch automation, including
Record GPS coordinates: The app will still let the employee clock in or out but will record their GPS coordinates, so you know how far they clocked in from the job site.
Record GPS and require GPS to punch: The app will tag employees' GPS location and won’t let them clock in if they’re outside the designated job area.
Record GPS, warn if not at the GPS punch location: The app records GPS coordinates and sends the employee a warning that they’re outside the job area.
Record GPS, disable punch if not at GPS location: Disables the punch button, making it impossible for employees to log in outside the job area.
If an employee attempts to clock in or out outside the geofence, OnTheClock sends you an instant email notification. It indicates the time the employee tried to log in, their name, and the approximate distance from the designated geofence area.
Beyond these options, you set OnTheClock to restrict punching in before the shift starts. You can also send employees timely punch reminders and determine when the app clocks out an employee should they forget to do so.
OnTheClock doesn’t come with a facial recognition feature, but it still thwarts buddy punching using fingerprint sign-in. The system uses employees’ biometric data to eliminate buddy punching. Sadly, it doesn’t use employee mobile devices. You have to invest in a digital persona fingerprint reader and cough up an extra 50 cents per employee.
Other OnTheClock Features
Employee GPS tracking tools
30-day free trial, price starts from $10.50 per month for three employees.
4. AllGeo -- Best Geofencing App With No Facial Recognition
AllGeo is similar to OnTheClock in that it’s feature-packed on the admin side. The abundance of features is music to the years of seasoned users, but for total beginners, it can be a steep learning curve. Thankfully, the mobile app is as easy as it gets, so even the non-tech-savvy employees won’t struggle to clock in or out.
Creating the Geofence
The tracking system offers two options to create a job site with geofence. If you go the simple route, you’ll only need to add the specific job site address and choose the geofence radius. However, if you need more accuracy, you could create the geofence using longitude and latitude.
AllGeo allows you to upload the sites' details in CSV, XLSX, or XLS files if you manage multiple job sites. The system pulls data from the files to build the job site for you, but you still have to set your geofence preferences manually. The geofence can be a polygon or a circle, where the radius can be any figure.
Once you create the geofence, you have to assign it to a specific task. This ensures that the geofence rule applies to only employees assigned to the jobs: it could be an individual or a group.
If you prefer the zero-touch approach, you can set the app to clock employees in when they enter the geofence and clock them out when they exit. Alternatively, you can let employees clock in and out manually.
However, manual punching is sometimes prone to errors, especially if your employees forget to clock in and out. Thankfully, AllGeo offers customizable notification rules to eliminate time-tracking errors. You can configure the system to notify employees to clock in or out when entering or leaving the job site.
Sadly, AllGeo doesn’t offer a facial recognition tool or fingerprint sign-in. It eliminates offsite punching and other human-related time-tracking errors but opens the door for buddy punchers.
Other AllGeo Features
Employee GPS Tracking
Roue history (Breadcrumbing)
14-day free trial, price starts from $5 per user per month
5. HelloTracks -- Best Geofencing for Dispatch and Distribution Companies
HelloTracks is a reliable geofencing app for employees in the mobility and transportation, repair and maintenance, and logistics and distribution industries. It helps you manage field staff operations with dispatching and route optimization tools.
We took its geofencing feature for a spin to see how it supports other functions. There are plenty of features, but each is intuitively placed in a drop-down menu to make it easier to find.
Creating the Geofence
You set the geofence when creating places on HelloTracks. The location could be a job site, warehouse, dispatch zone, or a place where a vehicle broke down, and you need to send your repair and maintenance team.
To create a place, drag the location pin to the right job site and hit “create.” This takes you to another page where you can set the job address and geofence radius. Moreover, you can create a job zone or polygonal geofence.
Zones work for dispatch or sales teams that need to move around a geographical area instead of being at a specific job site. The zone can take any shape (triangle, rectangle, square, etc.) and size, depending on the task you assign your teams.
Hellotracks lets you set configuration rules for places and zones. With the latter, you have to define the time the alerts are active. For example, you can opt to get an alert when an employee performs a trigger action between Monday and Friday during a regular shift. The trigger actions include when an employee:
Enters or exits the zone
Checks in or out
Exceeds stationary time
Doesn’t check in or out until alert time ends
The system automatically alerts the admin or manager when a trigger action happens. There’s no way to set it to notify an employee to clock in or out when they enter or exit the geofence. However, Hellotrack alerts employees to clock in or out when they cross the zone boundaries.
The good thing is that Hellotracks automatically clocks in employees when they enter the geofence or zone. This zero-touch approach eliminates time theft caused by offsite punching.
Hellotracks allows employees to take and upload photos from their smartphones to prove they have been to the assigned place. However, this isn’t facial recognition and isn’t a prerequisite for employee sign-in. For this reason, it doesn’t prevent buddy punching.
Other Hellotrack Features
Real-time location tracking
Route history (breadcrumbing)
Employee work scheduling
30-day free trial, price starts from $10 per user per month
Track Employee Time Accurately with Geofencing
The best geofence time clock app depends on your most pressing needs. If you’re grappling with both offsite and buddy punching, we recommend getting started with Timeero. Besides the geofencing tool, the app has facial recognition features to thwart buddy punching. It’s also more affordable and suits both small and large businesses.
Hubstaff is a safe bet if you want to eliminate offsite punching. It has geofencing capabilities, but the lack of facial recognition or fingerprint sign-in means it can’t deal with buddy punching. On the other hand, Hellotracks is up your alley if you run a dispatch or distribution business.
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Samson is a mathematician turned content marketer specializing in SaaS and Tech content. He focuses on the practical aspects of software systems while keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge principles to create informative and engaging content. When he’s not writing, Samson spends time playing or watching soccer.