A Commentary on Tracking Employees on the Move

A Commentary on Tracking Employees on the Move

An XNSPY reader recently wrote quite a great piece on employee tracking as a convenience and a phenomenon. They explain the uses quite well and provide readers the sensibilities of both sides. Here’s the rather informative piece that had us thinking…

Tracking employees is an emerging practice that is fast enabling managers to better streamline their employees. Mobile phone trackers have proven to be especially helpful in organizations where either both employees and managers or one party is on the go. Supply chains in particular can benefit greatly from mobile phone trackers. Having dispatched a shipment, the manager can not only communicate the best routes, but also be aware of safety issues in real time. They can also monitor if the delivery is indeed being made at the right place rather than being sold off midway. The trackers thus eliminate the risk that comes with blind trust. The same principle can be applied to companies that have similar operations: online stores, courier and logistics companies, even restaurants, all of which have to rely on delivery. The tracking systems can also be used by companies that have door to door operations. Sales teams, for example, can apply this practice where each sales rep can be tracked so that their safety is ensured and the manager knows the areas which they have covered so that none is left out.

Mobile tracking can also be used in office environments. Managers can track the amount of time an employee spend in his/her workspace, and the amount of time they spend elsewhere and thus calculate their productivity and time management. Of course, this cannot correctly asses the time being spent in the workspace in qualitative terms, but it seems like a viable option to use if a manager is on the go. They can also make sure that the employee spend their allotted number of hours in the workplace and not leave early once the head is gone.

This method of managing can pose some ethical issues. First, workers need a certain level of autonomy in order to be productive. Excessive surveillance may have the opposite effect, that is workers might not work at their optimum for worry that they are being watched. Employees are perhaps more comfortable with cameras because given the nature of our times, they have accepted it as a necessary measure for security, not only their surveillance so it benefits them as well. Individual tracking on the other hand might make them feel as if their employers have no trust in them. Thus those workers that rely on autonomy will find themselves at a disadvantage. Second, tracking employees requires a certain amount of real time monitoring. There is no use of having a brilliant tracking device and not using it when it’s required. Most manager that only perform end of day checks will find themselves at a great disadvantage. This practice therefore requires trust from both ends. Keeping this problem in mind, employees and employers must communicate with each other through this tracker, keeping the office manager updated while the employee is on the field.

Mobile tracking is a useful tool for managers, helping them stay better connected to their employees. However, it is important for a manager to lay down the rules for its usage so that it remains appropriate surveillance rather than an invasion of privacy.

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