Geofencing is a growing trend in the use of mobile technology. It’s a clever way for businesses to help their customers engage with their product or services, and it’s also an interesting method for employers to support their workforce and ensure they are productive and supported on the job. Here are a few ways that geofencing could make a big difference for you and your company in the coming year.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing apps work to create invisible boundaries to send app users mobile notifications or alerts based on your GPS location. They are used by retail to serve up coupons or notifications to customers. They are used by home security apps to alert users when their kids are within a set range (or outside of it). More companies are using geofencing apps to let employees know when they’re in range of a job site. As more mobile device users allow their apps to track their location (77 percent), the opportunities for businesses to leverage that information more efficiently is making for some interesting opportunities.

Geofencing in the Workplace

Geofencing in the workplace looks a little different than in the world of retail. Employers can use geofencing to support employee location accountability, preventing time theft, ensuring job sites are safe and secure, and even for automated clocking in and out. It’s pretty clear that employers are seeing the benefits of geofencing, but it can be a challenge to implement this new technology and make sure it is working to accomplish your goals as a business.

Also worth considering is how employees perceive the use of geofencing at work. There needs to be an understanding and an underlying basis of trust between employer and employees, otherwise, geofencing can bump into some complex issues around privacy. There is even some hesitancy on behalf of employers to invest in the technology and risk that trust on behalf of their employees.

Looking at the numbers is an important place to start. According to this study by geofencing expert TSheets, only 12 percent of the respondents said they’ve used geofencing at work. It’s clearly still an emerging opportunity for businesses. But of those employees who have experienced it, 53 percent had a positive experience, and 36 percent were “neutral”. Some of the biggest issues employees had regarding geofencing were related to the drain on battery life, and on mobile data. This led researchers to find that employers paying for an employee’s phone bill will find those employees much more open to using geofencing on the job. More than three-quarters (78 percent to be precise) of workers whose phones are provided by their employer said they like geofencing, compared to 56 percent of those who use their own phone at work.

Geofencing is an interesting example of how employee data can be used to revolutionize the workplace. The opportunities are growing as technology expands into more aspects of our work and home lives. In this fast-changing digital world, it’s important for businesses to understand the pros and cons of a technology like geofencing, and to decide for yourselves whether the technology helps you accomplish your goals.

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