GPS mileage apps are quickly becoming the preferred way for both businesses and independent contractors to keep track of mileage for work and tax purposes. Along with these apps come privacy concerns – let's explore how to ensure an app protects employee privacy.
GPS mileage tracking – the new mileage log
A mileage log is just a mileage log, right? It’s simply a list of trips and mileage amounts, adding up to a total amount for reimbursement purposes. At least, that’s how many businesses and their employees look at it. But a mileage log doesn’t have to be just a mileage log. It can also be treasure trove of data that can enhance the way you do business while saving you time and money.
Most businesses overlook ways mileage tracking can provide valuable data about sales and employee behavior, reduce the time employees spend on administrative tasks, and add increased transparency. All this can be achieved if mileage logs are automated using an appropriate tool. GPS mileage tracking apps are now on the market that can automate mileage tracking while integrating with existing CRM software and expense management systems.
Benefits of GPS mileage tracking apps
There are many business benefits to using GPS location services for mobile employees:
- Logging and calculating business mileage for reimbursements
- Measuring and monitoring overtime for labor law compliance
- Supporting personal use chargeback policies for company cars
- Leveraging trip data to coach and develop underperforming reps
- Avoiding over-reimbursement due to inaccurate estimates
- Saving time by automating administrative processes
However, with such a powerful tool comes also increased access to an employee’s private life.
GPS apps and employee privacy concerns
GPS technology can make some employees feel that they are being watched by “Big Brother” while on the job. And managers may not want to support a tool that could virtually put them in the position of looking over each employee’s shoulder.
However, our recent survey found that most employees actually see the benefits of a convenient mileage tracker outweighing the possible loss of privacy. Out of our respondents, 81% said they would support their employer tracking their business mileage if it meant receiving full reimbursement of vehicle expenses.
It is important to realize that the other 19% could make a big difference within an organization. That is a large number of people who might react negatively. You want to steward the trust of all employees and make everyone feel they are treated fairly.
So even if most employees end up not having privacy concerns it is still important to choose a mileage app that limits employee visibility to the company.
Using GPS while preserving employee trust
With the proliferation of business tools in the form of mobile apps, employers have more access to their employees than ever before. Stewarding this access appropriately should be a high priority.
When employers begin using GPS to monitor employees, they should implement best practices for complying with the law and ensuring that employee trust is not violated. Because there is not as much clarity in the law when it comes to tracking employee’s locations through smartphones as there is with monitoring employee vehicles, developing protective policies and procedures is highly important.
The mBurse solution, however, can preserve this trust without lots of complicated rules and procedures. We offer a GPS mileage tracking app, mLog, that DOES NOT violate employee privacy. This app creates a fence between the employee's real-time whereabouts and the trips that are reported. The employee always has the ability to review and edit trips before their mileage is submitted for reimbursement purposes.
Contact mBurse for a demo of mLog today, and get your 30-day free trial.