GPS for employee time tracking? Watch out for these common pitfalls!

Employee's time tracking needs accuracy and not complexity. GPS only adds to the complexity and adds management overheads. Know the truth here.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: June 30, 2022
  • 2 Minutes
GPS based time tracking is inaccurate and not recommended by Papershift

Time needs accuracy and not complexity. We give you 3 reasons why GPS can be inaccurate.

Did you know that one of the most downloaded and used apps from the Google play store and App store are ‘Fake GPS apps‘? These apps have over 10 million in download volume and are constantly on the rise and there are countless apps like such. Well, that is just one reason amongst many for why we advise against GPS for time tracking.

GPS time tracking is prone to both unintentional human errors and conscious attempts at deceit. For a company looking to bring in a system to ensure ‘accuracy’, GPS only adds to the complexity and adds management overheads.

GPS is less accurate

GPS is disabled unintentionally

We have done this most of the time, haven’t we? Turn off the GPS, to save more on the smartphone battery. And even if we did not; the smartphones of our generation are really smart. It auto optimizes the battery by disabling the GPS. These are unintentional and unsuspecting situations, but totally detrimental to the accuracy of time tracking if it is dependant on GPS.

One could always forget – the phone (or) clock-in

Now, GPS is device-dependent. The failure to carry the smartphone along intentionally or unintentionally and forgetting to clock-in through the phone at the right location would add to the woes of the time tracking. This system can be counterproductive to the admins who are managing the overall time records and will result in additional measures in terms of processes to validate the time tracking created.

Papershift would suggest these foolproof systems to have your employee time tracking calculated, which is enjoyed by both employees and admins. We list out the 5 different options here.

If you would like to talk to us further on any specific requirements here on ‘Employees time tracking’ or would like a personalized demo to see it in action from our agents, then leave us a note for a free demo here.

GPS on phones

Understand how phones and GPS work and how they don’t

We will get a little technical here. I will keep it as simple as possible. It is important to understand how GPS works and how it could not solve your time tracking problem dependant on location tracking.

Our phones determine our location by listening to radio signals from satellites in outer space, or Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS). And 90% of our smartphones today use this technology of single-frequency GNSS. And, the average distance in inaccuracy reported is between 5 and 20 meters. In a real-world scenario, that distance can identify a totally different street than the one you could be standing at. Hikers and joggers are advised against depending on GPS information because it can lead them to believe they have run further than they actually have.

So how do you solve this problem with Single frequency GNSS? Well, you adopt Double frequency GNSS. Support for this technology only arrived on devices that launched since 2018. At the moment, Huawei and Xiaomi are the only two vendors of note whose smartphones officially claim to support dual-frequency.

So we can fairly say, most of our devices are reporting less accurate GPS location. And for an organization to depend on it for their employees time tracking, can only add to the confusion.

Check out our other guide to successfully implement foolproof timesheet tracking at your business. One could also choose from different options to record time at your business like online browser time tracking, time tracking on app, via a stationary terminal or more. Check out all-time tracking options here.

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Jamie Street

Sebastian Hietsch

Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)