Everything You Need to Know About Employee Tracking

Finding ways to increase the output of an employee is a goal of all companies. In construction, that often means time management at the jobsite. Labor can make up almost half of all construction-project costs. The more labor-intensive a job is, the higher that percentage goes. Technology can help keep track of contractors’ time and labor efforts on the jobsite.

There are a variety of systems available to manage contractors at the jobsite. Most systems employ either radio frequency identification (RFID) technology or telematics in a wearable. This is sometimes embedded in a hard hat or an ID badge. RFID systems can be configured so that an employer knows which section of a jobsite a contractor is in. This type of technology can help in three key ways: heightening productivity, improving timekeeping, and providing a safer and more secure jobsite for all workers.

Productivity Boost

Tracking contractor productivity at the jobsite is one of the biggest advantage that this new tech provides. Project managers and owners can have the data and insights to know where a contractor is on the site and how long they are there.

For instance, Mike Pandi, vice president of marketing, MSI Data, says, “It’s all about the productivity of the worker. A metric they use is called wrench time, tracking productive time versus unproductive time. There can be a reduction of administrative time spent. It provides productivity improvements.”

In order to reduce the “traveling” time of employees at the jobsite, tracking worker locations will help by learning how long crews spend away from their work. Losing time to go to the washroom is inevitable, but when it is 30 minutes just because of the location, then that needs to be assessed. Tracking reveals how to strategically place tool cribs, washrooms, break rooms, etc., to reduce overall travel time.

Paul Miles, segment manager, Field Service Management Division, Trimble, says, “(By) optimizing your workers and equipment, the problem of downtime at the jobsite is solved. Being able to track where they are increases worker optimization at the jobsite.”

Timekeeping Trends

Leveraging these types of advanced tracking systems can also help save construction companies money when it comes to tracking worked hours. The weak link in the timekeeping system is humans. Any process that is left up to people is vulnerable to errors. By using automated labor tracking technology, the errors are reduced.

The crucial feature of labor tracking is the ability to determine how many contractors, or subcontractors, are on the site at any given time. This is achieved through RFID readers and the accompanying tags, or badges, workers wear.

Miles continues, “There is a faster completion of projects and scheduling improvements with tracking.”

Safety Surges

Using location-tracking tech at the jobsite can also increase the safety of the workers. Knowing where everyone is in the event of an emergency makes it easier to check that everyone is accounted for.

The systems can also prevent contractors from going into a potentially dangerous area. With the sensors on the site and on the worker, they can be notified if they are entering a hazardous space and remove themselves from the danger. “The technology can also help the contractor be more supported and prepared at the site,” explains Pandi.

Using the location tracking in conjunction with technology on equipment, an operator can be alerted if a contractor has gotten too close or gone behind the equipment and keep them safe from injury. Miles explains, “An advantage is with safety at the jobsite. Knowing where the worker is with heavy equipment will help keep them safe.”

Privacy Considerations

Construction businesses seeking to implement location-tracking systems should do so with several best practices in mind. Company representatives should consult with legal counsel familiar with the laws of each state where the company wishes to use location tracking.

Miles says, “There are always concerns with privacy. You are asking your workers to be tracked. How do you implement this technology? Do you use company issued devices or a worker’s personal device? Find the right solutions and providers to get tracking done right.”

In order to reduce any expectation of privacy that employees may have with respect to company-owned equipment, companies should adopt written location-tracking policies. Employees should be required to sign an acknowledgement of receipt of the company policy.

Future Possibilities

Location tracking offers myriad benefits to construction companies. Given recent regulatory developments, more firms may seek to make use of these technologies.

Miles says, “Tracking workers is not that common today and will take longer to be a standard. There are a lot of benefits when you pair worker tracking solutions with the equipment technology.”

There are many opportunities for a construction company when using location-tracking technology. While it may take a while for construction companies to adopt the technology, the productivity, timekeeping, and safety benefits speak for themselves.

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