Cos in hybrid mode try to track staff location


Mumbai: Employers are trying to keep tabs on their employees’ location and movement as work-from-home and hybrid work models deprive managers of physical oversight over their subordinates’ activities. Companies are scouting for apps and tools to identify the employee’s exact location and duration of client meetings and field office work.

According to payroll, HR and workforce management solutions provider Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), companies are retaining control of work and workforce with real-time visibility, aided by technologies like geo-tagging, geo-fencing, activity and task assignments and tracking productivity. Its clients in India are asking for geo-sensing and geo-fencing options for their manpower. “With the changing ways of working, managers and employees are no longer co-located. There are satellite offices, workforce directly reporting in the field and managers working from home,” said Sumeet Doshi, country manager, India for UKG.

Geo-sensing records an employee’s check-in location, while geo-fencing ensures an employee is checking in from within the satellite office or other acceptable work location. According to Doshi, these allow managers to have a reliable and real-time source of the employee’s presence while allowing organizations to be nimble and productive. “UKG’s geo-sensing technology is coupled with employee’s biometric validation to eliminate any foul play,” Doshi said in an interview.

Although many Indian companies have asked their teams to turn up regularly in offices, many roles continue to operate in hybrid mode. The scrutiny of workers’ whereabouts may increase as the economic slowdown worsens and the negotiation powers of employees weaken. “With the recession, employers are now open to more invasive checks. Companies want to prevent any form of gig or moonlighting and at the same time keep a closer watch on their workforce,” said Dhiraj Gupta, chief technology officer at MFilterIt, a fraud detection and prevention company.

Manufacturing firms across automotive, pharma, heavy engineering, electronic component makers, retail and IT are asking for these tools for tracking. But Gupta cautioned against the extensive use of such trackers.

“It is a privacy issue because your location can be tracked at any given point, and it does not have to be only at the time of attendance. While the software has been available for a while, companies over the last year have become more aware of its usage,” he said.

UKG’s Doshi said its tools can “sense an employer’s Wi-Fi network, read QR codes, work together with beacons and even work offline, thereby having an appropriate way of check-in for all industries and job roles.” UKG’s India business has grown over 25% in the past year.

A recruiter said smaller SaaS-based companies working under high pressure from clients are getting into “micromanagement”. “They are capturing websites that the employees have visited during office hours and even tracking how long an employee has been idle on office chat groups,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra, chief executive of Ciel HR Services.

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