We have discussed both cell phones in the workplace and mobile devices’ role in the healthcare industry. Today we will look at having a policy in place for companies that use mobile phones for work purposes.
A survey in 2011 showed firms that use mobile technology earn $10.8 million annually, while their peers who are not as mobile savvy are earning $5.7 million. That enormous difference is a clear indicator that more and more companies will get on board and start using mobile devices for work. An important step to take before allowing employees to use their smart phones for work, or supplying them with company phones, is to create a Mobile Device Policy. These policies outline the employer’s position on how employees may use mobile devices for work, device protection, and any compensation or allowances.
The following main points are what should be included in your mobile device policy:
What platforms are supported? Some companies choose to use one platform, such as Blackberry or I-Phone. This is often indicated by the proprietary software that a company uses. Other companies may choose a particular carrier and allow employees to choose their own style of phone.
What protective measures will be employed? What will the company require to protect information on the phone? The use of passwords, encryption, and mobile locking or wiping in case of theft must be determined. It should also lay out instructions for employee actions in case of loss or theft.
What type of compensation is appropriate? If the company provides phones, will they pay the entire package? If employees are allowed to purchase their own devices, what type of monetary support will the company offer? Often monthly stipends, expense reimbursement, or yearly rebates are used to subsidize employee costs.
What will data storage limitations be? How much data, if any, can be stored on a device? Will there be a specific way that the data must be removed, such as a phone being wiped before the employee leaves company grounds daily, or data being moved to a secure storage regularly.
Is personal use permitted? The company must determine if employees may use their phones for things that are not work-related. Also, will downloading apps be permitted? Keep in mind if the company is only providing a stipend towards the employee’s phone it will be difficult to enforce very strict rules.
How will the policy be enforced? What will the company do to police the use of the phones? What will the employee be agreeing to by using a work related mobile device? Be very clear on when or how management may monitor the actual phone and its usage.
Cross reference other policies already in place. Make sure that all company policies concerning mobile devices reference the existing confidentiality, discrimination, harassment and non-disclosure policies currently being used.
Using mobile devices in the workplace can boost productivity and increase an employee’s ability to do their job no matter where they are. It is important for the company to act responsibly when setting policy. It should be discussed with an attorney to ensure that the scope and coverage of the policy is appropriate. Also, it is imperative that thorough training and review of the policy is conducted with all employees.
Crenshaw, Darryl. (November 16, 2012). Five Steps to Creating an Effective Mobile Device Policy. iOS @ Work. (Retrieved February7, 2013). http://www.macworld.com/article/2013735/five-steps-to-creating-an-effective-mobile-device-policy.html
Ribitzky, Romy. (July 12, 2011). The Mobile Way to Biz. Upstart Business Journal. (Retrieved February 7, 2013). http://upstart.bizjournals.com/news/wire/2011/07/12/mobile-professional-trends-for-2011.html
Souppaya, Murugiah and Karen Scarfone.(July 2012).Guidelines for Managing and Securing Mobile Devices in the Enterprise. National Institute of Standards and Technology. (Retrieved February7, 2013). http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts/800-124r1/draft_sp800-124-rev1.pdf