Many employers are implementing GPS tracking technology on their company vehicles. There are many reasons to do this. Tracking vehicles can save money by helping determine efficient routes for deliveries and service, saving time and fuel costs. Another great benefit of this technology is the ability to hold employees accountable for their reported hours. In a perfect world, employers could trust employees to be where they say they are and to be on task. As we all know too well, this is far from a perfect world. This sad fact was demonstrated recently at the University of Minnesota, where tracking devices revealed long-time employees idling for hours, far from where they should have been working.
The policy to track employees began when an elevator mechanic supervisor became concerned that employees were returning from their jobs earlier than they should. The university went through all the proper channels, notifying employees that they would be monitored with GPS tracking devices. Apparently, some of the employees didn’t take the policy very seriously and continued their poor working habits knowing their bosses would be watching.
From January to February, the elevator mechanics of the University of Minnesota vehicles were monitored. Most of the employees revealed no problems, but three in particular took several long, unauthorized breaks far from their work sites. In the two months they were monitored, two of the employees idled for a total of 16.22 hours each, away from any assigned work orders. The largest offender racked up a whopping 39.9 hours of idle time, nearly a full week’s worth of time. All three of these employees had been with the university for more than 10 years and were previously warned about working a full shift.
The offenders were suspended for one week without pay. “These employees were investigated, were given due process, and were adequately punished,” explained Brad Hoff, chief administrative officer at the University’s Facilities Management division. GPS devices are a great way for employers to ensure that employees are on task. “We want to make sure that folks are doing what they’re paid to do,” Hoff said. “They were not in the areas they were supposed to be in.”