Managing a team is tough. Managing a team that isn’t always together in one place? Even tougher.
If you’re running a business or managing people, you know that the list of things that need your attention goes on and on. Now, imagine having to set aside an hour or two daily to ask your field team which sites they worked at and what they accomplished for the day.
That’s a surefire way to burn through time and money.
But here’s the good news: there’s an easy and effective way to manage your team, whether they are inside the office or out in the field.
What is geofencing?
Geofencing utilizes the GPS capability of smart devices to detect when you are in the vicinity of designated job sites. You create a geofence around recurring work locations, and whenever you enter or exit a geofence, your device will automatically respond in a specific way.
In short, geofences are virtual borders that trigger certain actions in configured devices once they are in the area. In the case of field teams, this action is most commonly to start tracking time spent at various job sites.
How geofencing helps you manage teams
Being a leader means knowing your team’s progress and helping them perform at their best. But if hours of your day are spent only on checking if they actually have worked, you’re wasting time and effort.
Here are five ways geofencing can help streamline team management.
Automated and accurate time tracking
Geofencing time clock apps provide teams with an easy and inexpensive way of accurately recording the hours spent at work.
Geofencing, combined with time tracking, requires no hardware installations and regular maintenance costs — just set up the job sites and assign your team to projects, and you’re good to go.
Many apps allow team members to use their own mobile devices, which means they’re not forgetting to clock in at a certain location.
Teams can start tracking their time as soon as they enter geofences, and don’t need to worry about forgetting to clock out. Everything is automated.
Eliminates the need for paper timesheets
No one likes paper timesheets. They’re messy, difficult to organize, and can easily be manipulated. It doesn’t make sense to choose them when there are much better options available.
Since time tracking apps with geofencing are cloud-based, managers can access timesheets anytime and anywhere. You will be able to see the exact time someone has entered the workplace and how long they have worked without having to wade through a sea of time cards.
Prevents buddy punching
Buddy punching happens when an employee clocks in for a colleague even if they aren’t at the workplace yet. While a time card that’s inaccurate by 10-15 minutes may not sound like much, the numbers add up.
Having a geofencing app means that if an employee wants to clock in, they have to actually be there. This not only ensures more precise time records, but it also makes it easier for managers to identify scheduling trends — if shifts are on time, late, or missed.
Attendance tracking made simple
Employees don’t like being asked what they did for the day. Managers don’t enjoy asking either, especially when they could be using that time on more important tasks. Why would anyone prefer manually checking in over an app that automates the whole process?
As soon as an employee enters the workplace, geofencing will start tracking time to the project associated with that location. You will be able to see exactly how much time has been spent on each task, who worked on what, and if you’ll be able to meet the budgeted hours. You’ll no longer need to check in and make sure shifts are performed as planned.
Streamlined payroll and invoicing
A great benefit of geofencing software is that payroll and invoicing are seamlessly integrated into them.
Once your team has submitted timesheets, the app will automatically calculate the total amount owed. This amount is based on the number of hours they have worked and their set hourly rate, which means no computations will be necessary.
Invoicing is hassle-free, too. The app can create invoices based on the hours put into each project per client and the bill rates you set so all you have to do is review and send.
Finding the right geofencing tool
It’s not a strict requirement to use just one app, but it is much easier versus using multiple ones for different functions. Hubstaff, for example, is a geofencing and time tracking app with a well-balanced set of features that lets you easily manage teams and projects all from one place.
There are hundreds of geofencing solutions. The best thing to do is to test the apps on your shortlist, see which ones give your team the strongest benefits, and decide from there.
About the Author
Dave Nevogt is the co-founder and the CEO of Hubstaff, a time tracking software for field service teams that offers geofenced job sites, GPS time tracking, payments, invoicing, and more. The company also makes Hubstaff Tasks, the Agile project management tool for growing businesses.