App builds geofence to track worker timecards

It’s 10 a.m.; do you know where your employees are? That’s the question the time tracking mobile app Boomr is trying to help employers answer — virtually.

Boomr allows employers to track their workers’ time by creating a geofence, or a virtual geographic boundary, around an office, or a place where an employee has to report for work. When an employee reports to that specific location, their mobile device registers that they have actually arrived within the geofence, and they can begin to log their time.

Boomr CEO Matt Bowersox co-founded the company in 2013 and has since marketed the app as a way to help employers save money by creating a more accurate picture of the hours employees are working. Workers have to be within 0.2 miles of the specified location before they can check in to work. Companies also can add multiple geofences for employees who may be working remotely, traveling or in a new location, he says.

“It prevents things like buddy punching, or clocking in to work when you’re still at home,” he says.

Although it may sound a little invasive, Bowersox says Boomr only tracks employees’ locations when they log in to the app and begin to record time. Plus, an employer cannot see an employee’s exact location when using the app, he says.

“There is no ability for anybody to see where you are,” he says. “All that can happen is that you are verified to be in close enough proximity to a specific place at a specific time.”

Boomr can be integrated with other HCM systems including Gusto, Paychex and Namely. The app costs a $16 base, plus $4 per user per month for a standard subscription, and a $36 base, plus $7.20 per user per month, for a business plan.

Bowersox says Boomr makes it easier for small businesses to automate the payroll process, something that can be time-consuming for a company with a small staff. The app also helps employees keep a detailed record of how much they are being paid, hour to hour, he says.

“If there are any discrepancies, they always have a record of that,” Bowersox says.

Lara Shane, co-founder and CEO of pediatric therapy company Brain Harmony, says Boomr helped her identify an employee who was cheating on their timesheet, costing the 10-person company to lose money on wages.

Shane also uses the app to track how workers are progressing on projects, another Boomr feature. In the case of this specific employee, Shane says they were not only cheating on their timesheet, but also failing to complete their work.

“It became really clear how inefficient and ineffective she was,” Shane says, adding that she eventually made the decision to let the employee go.

Brain Harmony saved about 15% per $20,000 in monthly payroll costs after using the app, according to a case study published by Boomr. Shane says most of that savings came before they fired the employee.

But do employees like using a geofence tracker? Shane says, like anything, it’s an adjustment at first. But, employees who are being honest about their time find the system easy to use, she says. Overall it gives businesses an opportunity to take an honest look at how their employees are utilizing time.

“It forces everyone to live in reality,” Shane says. “You clock in at work, you clock out.”

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