Company-issued mobile devices help employees keep in touch with colleagues and clients, as well as keeping them connected to the office. They make it easier to get work completed, get updates, and work on the go. They can become attached to your hip, which can be both good and bad for your business.

While they are a tool that can be used to increase efficiency, they can also be a huge source of distraction, which in turn creates a liability. When employees turn to the mobile device for fun instead of work, the business can see a dramatic shift in not only productivity but also associated telecom costs.

An acceptable use policy should be created to limit any negative impact of personal use on corporate assets.

Creating an Acceptable Use Policy

Many companies have acceptable use policies for cell phones that outline when and where you can use them. They should also speak to what applications are acceptable and those that are unacceptable. As an example, a Microsoft app may be essential to work; but Netflix or Pokemon Go, are likely not. It’s important to have these distinctions outlined in order to avoid unnecessary and uncomfortable situations.  Use of either of these ‘non-essential’ applications could lead to a significant loss of productivity as well as an exponential increase in the use/cost of your data.

Your acceptable use policy should also determine what costs are the responsibility of the company, and those which would be the responsibility of the user. By documenting your policy and requiring acceptance of it by your employees, you ensure that your employees are aware of what is viewed as inappropriate use, and further that they will be held accountable for inappropriate use of the device.

Here are some things you need to consider when creating such a policy:

  • Are there different rules for Executives/Managers/Users?
  • What happens when a user exceeds their data?
  • What happens when increased data on one line has resulted in charges on another(others)?
  • Who is responsible for roaming charges?
  • How will we determine if overage is related to business/personal use?
  • Who is responsible for costs incurred during personal travel? How will these costs be monitored?
  • What will be the standard hardware in use?
  • How will old hardware be dealt with?
  • How will hardware upgrades be approved?
  • Who would be responsible for any Early Upgrade charges?
  • Will an employee be allowed to take their phone/phone number with them upon termination?
  • What happens when usage levels indicate that an employee is not work focused during work hours?

Acceptable use policies for mobile devices are critical to managing both telecom costs and employee expectations. Once it is created, it should be distributed it to employees and ask for a signature of understanding; and then placed in their employee file with Human Resources.   

This is a significant step in the drive towards cost reduction, as well as the overall health of your business.