GPS Tracking for Construction Workers: All You Need to Know
Last update on:
July 28, 2023 4:25 AM
Construction sites can be chaotic, fast-paced environments where safety and efficiency are paramount. In the past, managing workers and equipment on these sites was a daunting task. However, with the rise of GPS tracking technology, construction companies now have a powerful tool at their disposal.
GPS tracking systems for construction workers can help you streamline your day-to-day activities and project management. From geofencing to fleet management, GPS tracking offers a range of features that can transform how construction companies operate.
But how exactly does GPS tracking for construction workers function? What types of systems are available? And what are the best practices for implementation?
We'll answer all these questions and more, providing a comprehensive guide to GPS tracking for construction workers.
But let’s start with the basics.
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GPS tracking is a versatile technology with many uses in the construction industry. Generally speaking, we can split use cases into two broad categories:
Installing a GPS tracker device on a construction vehicle or heavy equipment to improve safety and maintenance on-site, reduce expenses and streamline processes.
Using GPS tracking to monitor construction workers. For tracking purposes, construction companies can opt for a separate tracking device or software their employees can install on their mobile devices.
We'll focus on the second use case - GPS tracking for construction workers, and everything related to implementing GPS technology to monitor your employees on construction sites.
So, how do you keep track of construction workers?
Why Use GPS Tracking Software for Construction Workers?
As 85% of adult US citizens now own a smartphone, chances are all your employees also have them. So, instead of buying GPS tags for monitoring, your employees can download the GPS tracking app directly onto their Android or iOS mobile phones to track time and locations and, with certain apps, they can even monitor their travel routes.
Besides monitoring, the best GPS tracking apps often come packed with other great features that you can use to improve your workflows, efficiency, and productivity.
Let’s take a closer look at the best features available for construction and how you could benefit from them.
Features of GPS Tracking Software for Construction Workers
Even though there are many GPS tracking apps on the market today, not all of them are tailored to fit the needs of your construction company.
Considering all the industry specifics, we've listed the must-have features when looking for a GPS-tracking solution for construction workers.
Time Tracking and Timesheets Automation
Streamlining the construction time-tracking process brings numerous benefits, encouraging many companies to invest in this software.
Instead of punching their physical cards into the clock to record their arrival and departure, workers can now use the GPS time clock app on their mobile phones to easily clock in their hours and log their breaks and overtime.
When punches occur, the GPS time card app will also record employees’ locations, ensuring they are where they need to be.
What’s great about time tracking software is that it automatically creates employees’ time cards with all the records you need for payroll and ensures compliance.
Furthermore, if there are no-shows or late clock-ins, you can be notified immediately, preventing matters from complicating further.
But some of the best GPS time clock apps tailored for construction offer additional safeguards to help you address the typical problems at job sites.
One such feature is facial recognition - biometric authentication that can help you combat 'buddy punching', the most common employee time theft fraud scheme.
The GPS tracking software uses the GPS devices of mobile phones to keep track of and record employees’ location data. Although this is the core feature, there are many differences in tracking and how you and your employees can benefit from it.
Generally speaking, GPS tracking provides two types of insight into employees’ location: real-time workforce visibility and GPS location history.
Real-Time Workforce Visibility
Only recently, it took a lot of work to keep track of the construction workers during work hours.
Using the right GPS tracker, you can now see your workers' real-time location and status at any given time.
With this level of insight, you can quickly identify tasks that are taking longer than planned and understand the reasons for the delay.
This enables you to adjust plans on the fly and take corrective measures as needed, which can save time, reduce costs, and improve overall efficiency.
GPS Location History
GPS tracking devices will provide information on your employees’ whereabouts during their working hours. However, depending on your chosen solution, you can expect more or less detailed GPS location history.
Geofencing brings additional functionalities to GPS tracking apps used in construction. It allows you to create a virtual boundary around a specific area using GPS technology.
You can use this feature for employee monitoring on a construction site in many ways. For example, the app can remind employees to clock in or out when they arrive or leave a location and send you notifications on their arrival and departure.
Or if an employee tries to clock in or out offsite, the GPS tracking system will recognize this as a violation, flag their entry and alert you about it. Some software even allows you to restrict employees' punches to a geofenced zone, so they can’t clock in or out unless in the predefined area.
GPS tracking systems can also automatically track your team members’ traveling routes and mileage throughout the day.
Instead of relying on odometer readings and paper logs, you can have accurate and reliable data on their travels that you can use for reimbursement or to gain more control over your fuel costs.
The route replay feature can also help you ensure workers take the most efficient routes between job sites and identify any issues or delays impacting their productivity.
Job and Labor Cost Monitoring
GPS tracking systems that are tailored for construction will allow you to track the progress of jobs, monitor costs and billable and non-billable hours, and ensure that projects are on track and will be completed on time and within budget.
When clocking in, employees can choose the job they’re working at, ensuring their labor costs are allocated to the right project. In addition, using this feature will allow you to identify potential issues before they become major problems, reducing the risk of delays and cost overruns.
Scheduling is another big challenge in the construction industry that GPS tracking apps often try to address. With this feature, you can schedule workers for specific jobs, assign tasks, and track the progress of individual workers. This feature also allows you to optimize the allocation of resources, ensuring that the right workers are assigned to the right jobs at the right time.
With just a few clicks, the robust scheduling feature allows you to efficiently create and distribute schedules, ensuring that each worker is promptly notified of any changes.
The system can also alert you to any scheduling conflicts or instances where you're trying to assign a shift to an unavailable worker. In addition, some of the best solutions allow you to let your workers accept or reject a shift as an additional safeguard.
Time Off Tracking
Tracking PTO is another valuable GPS tracking feature for construction workers. This feature allows your employees to request time off right from the app and be notified immediately when their request has been approved.
As all the PTO-related communication is centralized and efficient, the feature is a great time and energy saver for everyone involved. Plus, when time off is approved, days off will automatically show up in the schedule, ensuring you don’t assign a job to an unavailable employee.
GPS tracking software allows you to run different customizable reports from your collected data for various purposes.
Besides the evident record keeping, you can use these reports for your job and cost analysis, enabling you to make well-informed decisions and improve your practices.
What’s important when choosing a GPS-tracking solution for your construction business is how easily you can use its data to streamline your workflows. The more ability it has to share data with other software securely, the more processes you can automate, again saving time and energy needed for doing things the old, manual way.
The best GPS tracking software for construction companies will allow you to integrate with the most common accounting and payroll software and the other tools you actively use. This means you can transfer data on employee time, attendance, and mileage to the software you use for payroll, such as QuickBooks or ADP, with just a few clicks and ensure fair and accurate reimbursement.
We’ve mentioned that employee GPS tracking software relies on mobile apps on your employees’ phones for collecting data.
The app should be intuitive and easy for your crew members to use, allowing them to complete their time-tracking and mileage-keeping tasks smoothly.
Besides, as your employees will sometimes be working in an area with weak or limited connectivity, the app should also be able to function offline.
The best construction apps are also designed to protect the battery from drainage.
What Are the Pros and Cons of GPS Tracking for Construction Workers?
We’ve summed up the key features of construction employee GPS tracking software and what you should pay attention to when choosing the right solution for your business. Now, we're ready to move on to all the pros and cons of using these apps at your workplace.
So, What Are the Benefits of GPS Tracking for Construction Workers?
GPS tracking offers a range of benefits that can improve productivity, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness on construction sites. Here is a brief overview of the benefits of GPS tracking for construction workers:
Improved accountability. GPS tracking on construction sites can give you a better insight into your employees' attendance and tardiness and help you prevent various time theft schemes. With this data, you can work to address these issues and create a more productive workforce.
Increased productivity and efficiency. GPS tracking can help optimize construction site workflows, enhance productivity and reduce downtime. By tracking worker movements, you can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the construction process and make adjustments to improve performance.
Reduction of fuel costs. GPS tracking can help reduce fuel costs by optimizing routes and reducing idle time.
Improved project management and communication. GPS tracking apps provide real-time information about workers' whereabouts, which can help you manage resources more effectively. They let you quickly locate workers, track progress, and identify project timeline issues. GPS tracking also enables improved communication between workers and management, helping ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
More accurate payroll and reimbursement. You can put the data the GPS tracker collects to good use by streamlining the payroll and mileage reimbursement processes.
Improved compliance with labor laws. Labor laws demand accurate record-keeping of employee working hours and payroll information. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines and legal action. GPS time and attendance systems will provide accurate and reliable timesheets, helping you ensure compliance.
Cons of GPS Tracking for Construction Workers: Legal and Ethical Considerations
While GPS tracking systems obviously offer numerous benefits for construction companies, considering their legal and ethical implications is essential.
Some of the key considerations include the following:
Privacy concerns. If you don’t provide your employees with enough information about how the GPS tracking system works, they may be concerned about being monitored and tracked. They might even consider it a violation of their privacy. Sometimes these concerns may cause employee pushback and have other harmful consequences for your business, such as low employee morale and churn.
Data protection. GPS data can contain sensitive and personal information. Therefore, you must ensure that the data collected through GPS tracking systems are protected and can be accessed and used only for their intended purposes.
Compliance with regulations. Although GPS tracking is a relatively new technology, and few rules specifically mention it, it doesn't mean it isn't regulated by other, more general laws. However, non-compliance with these laws can lead to lawsuits and heavy fines. Ensuring you’re under the regulations and best practices in this area is vital. To learn more about the regulations in this area, check out our article on employee GPS tracking laws.
However, as most of these issues can be resolved efficiently with the right approach, your business can still reap all the benefits of using GPS tracking for construction workers.
Best Practices for Implementing GPS Tracking Systems for Construction Workers
Implementing GPS tracking systems in construction companies can be challenging. However, by following the steps below, companies can ensure successful implementation:
Research and choose a reliable GPS tracking software that meets the company's needs.
Provide training and education for workers to ensure they are comfortable using the technology.
Communicate the benefits of the GPS tracking solution to workers and address any concerns they may have.
Notify employees in writing about the GPS tracking software they will be using, and get their written consent on monitoring.
Monitor and evaluate the system's performance regularly to ensure it meets the company's goals and objectives.
By keeping your employees informed and involved in adopting new technology, they are more likely to recognize the benefits it brings to all the parties involved. And when this is the case, they are less likely to react negatively.
How Can Timeero Help Me Improve My Construction Business?
Timeero is a well-known and trustworthy partner of construction companies with many success stories to share.
Paper-based systems and other time-tracking apps proved inefficient, leading to inaccurate time tracking, delayed invoicing, and difficulties managing employee time off and leave.
However, since implementing Timeero, a GPS tracking system, these three companies have significantly improved their processes. Timeero's geofencing and GPS tracking capabilities have fostered more accountability among field workers, making compliance with state laws easier.
Additionally, the mobile app has allowed easy time off requests and approvals, making leave management a breeze. As a result, Timeero has streamlined these companies' processes and saved them time and money.
With Timeero, you can also soon have a success story to share! Timeero has affordable pricing that is flexible toward your business needs. Besides, you can count on excellent customer support to smooth onboarding and transition to a new solution.
You can read our Timeero Review to learn more about this excellent employee GPS tracking solution for construction and its features and benefits.
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Andjelka is a sociologist turned digital marketer. She specializes in creating content for SaaS and software companies. When she’s not researching the most effective employee management techniques, Andjelka loves cooking, reading, and fighting for human rights.