Nowadays, people are aware that whatever comments or pictures they post on social media can be seen and scrutinized by their current or future employers. But field service workers have an extra concern to worry about: GPS tracking on field service automation solution software is often a requirement for them to do their jobs. Some field service workers may feel that carrying around a device that uses GPS software affects their freedom and threatens their privacy, but there are ways that companies can ease these fears.
Don’t Police Employees
It's one of the field service management challenges that's rarely talked about. Some employees fear that employers will use the GPS technology loaded on their mobile field service device to track their every move all day, every day. Workers might worry that employers will be like the police or Big Brother, watching where they go, looking to catch them doing something wrong or for grounds to fire them.
Instead of letting employees worry about these and other technology fears, let them know that the main reason GPS is equipped on their devices is to make their workdays and the business run more smoothly. Automated field service software lets dispatchers know which technician’s are available and close to the customer, and helps them provide technicians with the smartest routes to get to the customer’s faster.
Consider Keeping Personal and Work Devices Separate
One of the easiest ways to ease privacy fears is to issue employer-owned devices, letting your employees keep their own personal devices separate from work. In the U.S., the Supreme Court once ruled that it was allowed for an employer to read texts sent from an employer-issued mobile device, “because the search was motivated by a legitimate work-related purpose.” Generally, if an employee is aware that their employer uses GPS tracking devices on company equipment, it’s unreasonable for an employee to expect privacy while using the equipment.
Create a BYOD Policy
If your company allows employees to BYOD, make sure to craft a clear Bring Your Own Device Policy. Employees should sign off on allowing GPS tracking on their device. The policy should also clearly state that tracking will only occur during work hours. It should be obvious to the employee what will be monitored (time-keeping, location, etc.), so they understand that while they do have a reasonable expectation of privacy on their own devices, tracking for work-related purposes should be expected. Privacy with BYOD is slightly more complicated since the employees use their devices personally and outside of work hours, so it’s best to ensure within your policy that off-duty hours and personal usage won’t be tracked.
Track Workers Only During Work Hours
Field service workers have sued employers for tracking them after work hours. This, in fact, can be viewed a privacy violation. It makes no big difference if this tracking happened on a BYOD or an employer-issued device. If an employer tracks their employees during after hours, they open themselves up to the possibility of lawsuits since employers may learn sensitive, personal information that may lead to discrimination or wrongful termination claims. However, if monitoring occurs only during work hours concerning project and assignment-related tasks, potential legal troubles can be avoided. Reasons for tracking an employee should be solely for business, and not for the pleasure of knowing what they do in their spare time.