Running a normal business is difficult, but running a business where your employees work remotely can be a nightmare. Scheduling and remotely monitoring these employees are even worse.
If you manually keep track of remote employees on pen & paper, excel, or a white board, you are wasting unnecessary time and effort and causing yourself unneeded stress. You stress about employees showing up on time (if they showed up at all), you wonder if your client sites covered, are your employees safe, how will you know if they stay until the end of their shift, and the list goes on and on.
All of these concerns can be put to rest through the use of an employee scheduling software with geofencing capabilities. Geofencing is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. Basically, you can set up a virtual check-in point based on longitude and latitude. Your employees will have to be present in this area to sign in and out of their shift. By setting a range of exactly where and when your employees will be able to check-in/out, you will be able to know where your employees are and when they are there, which gives you peace of mind so you can focus on more important things.
Furthermore, geofencing lets you do more than just the check-in/out process. Geofencing gives you the ability to monitor your employees’ location in real time based on their GPS location, and have them perform mandatory safety checks to let you know all is going well at the job site. An advanced employee scheduling software system will give your employees directions to their assigned workplace and let you communicate back and forth within the app. In case there are any complications, your employees are able to alert you in real time, from one convenient app. On the flip side, managers are able to communicate real time changes directly to employees, all while ensuring they are safe at work.
These features benefit both management and employees. Through better communication, your relationship with your employees will improve and lead to lower staff turnover and higher employee satisfaction, which has the potential to boost your bottom line. Clear communication is key to keeping employees happy, and in turn, keeping customers happy. Employee scheduling software even provides you with a detailed report of when and where your employees are, so clients will be assured that they are being taken care of. On the management side of the equation, you will save time and run a more efficient operation, which will improve your bottom line and profitability.
The geofencing functionality provided by our employee scheduling software can help improve businesses across many different industries, including event-based companies, hospitality, security, marketing promotions, door-to-door sales, and more.
Celayix’s Staff Scheduling Software system utilizes geofencing. Our Team Xpress app has many other features, including Self-Scheduling, Providing Availability, In-app Messaging, and more. Staff scheduling software empowers your employees to get involved in the scheduling process, which leads to higher employee engagement and satisfaction, while reducing the scheduler’s workload. Tens of thousands of employees across the world use Team Xpress on a daily basis to make their lives easier. Celayix’s mission is to make scheduling easy, for both employers and employees.
Our clients in the security and hospitality industries have especially benefited from geofencing capabilities. These industries are known to have multiple events at various locations on any given day. Supervisors can’t be present at every job site to check-in/out every employee and keep an eye on them to ensure they stay for the full duration of their shift. Also, it would be infeasible to set up a traditional check-in/out device at temporary locations. Therefore, geofencing and an employee scheduling app is compulsory. Our security clients especially appreciate the mandatory safety checks due to the inherently risky nature of a security guard’s job. In both industries, employee coverage of the job site is critical. If a security guard doesn’t show up to an event and something goes wrong, the business is on the hook. If a hospitality worker doesn’t show up to an event, the clients will get a subpar experience and the business’ reputation will take a hit.
It becomes quite evident that employee scheduling software and geofencing aren’t just instruments for scheduling, they are strategic tools that helps maintain your relations with key stakeholders in your business – employees and clients. You can even calculate a dollar figure on your ROI when investing in Celayix’s scheduling tools.
Where’s your staff?
As it turns out, geofencing is not as daunting to implement as it first appears. As in many cases,Googles web APIs provides much of what is needed to hit the ground running. The Geolocation API, introduced as a part of the HTML5 standard, allows us to determine the location of any device with an internet browser using a combination of GPS, WiFi access points, cell towers and other common sources.
Googles Geocoding API simplifies the process of converting the street address of a location to latitude and longitude coordinates. Finally, the ubiquitous Google Maps API enables us to beautifully visualize our information and provides a great navigational tool for users. Now that we have all our tools, let’s put it all together.
Where are we again?
Geofencing is all about keeping track of where your employees are, and if they are in the correct location. As such, the most crucial piece of information is the users’ current position. This is provided by the Geolocation API widely available on all modern browsers. The “Get Current Position” function will retrieve your current position and the “Watch Position” function allows you to specify a handler function to be called whenever your position changes. Both these functions return an object that stores the users’ position and accuracy.
The position object is just a set of latitude and longitude values, and the accuracy gives us a tangible measure of the confidence that the reported position is your true position. This is represented by a circle of which your position is the center and accuracy is the radius. Basically, the browser is saying that it is 95% confident that your true position lies somewhere inside this circle.
Are we there yet?
So, how can we tell if someone is actually within a given location if there is a large inaccuracy? One strategy could be to use a small accuracy threshold, this would be some minimum requirement the users’ device must meet before we can say anything about their position.
Once met, we simply assume the reported position is the real position. If, on the other hand, accuracy doesn’t matter as much to you, you could employ a “good enough” strategy, setting a larger accuracy threshold and calculating if there is an intersection between your accuracy circle and your destination.
Once you know where you are, calculating the distance to your destination is as simple as a call to Google’s Geometry Library within the Google Maps API. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the GMaps API, you could consider manually calculating the distance on a spheroid with the Haversine formula.
Where’s the map?
We’ve talked a bit about the internal logic of geofencing, but arguably the most important part is what is actually presented to the user.
1) Placed UI in correct context.
In the following image, the map pin is red and has a question mark icon to indicate that the device’s accuracy is not available. And the geo-fence perimeter is red and dotted to indicate that the system cannot locate you.
In the following image, the worker’s current location is indicated by the red pin with an X icon. And the geo-fence perimeter is red and dotted to indicate that he is not within the designated area to check in.
In the following image, when the worker is within the designated area to check in and their device’s accuracy is acceptable, the map pin turns green and the geo-fence perimeter has a solid green border.
2) Revised our error messages.
Instead of describing the error in great detail, we focused on error resolution by providing the user with a clear and concise action.
3) Include visual indicators.
By using visual elements, we are able to make the warnings more meaningful and understandable. The user can see where he is on the map, for checking into shifts.