Many Australian enterprises have no corporate mobile policy, but do you need one? Who is responsible for employee behaviour on a corporate device?
Is it really necessary to have a mobile phone policy – no one takes any notice of company policies anyway!
The point of having a corporate mobility policy is that it protects the interests of the company; and promotes the safety and productivity of individual employees.
Furthermore without one, a Company could be failing in its legal responsibility to apply due diligence to workplace practice.
It could also be argued that the Company is implicit in allowing employees to use their mobile phones inappropriately if common practice is not challenged by the Company.
The Company itself is also at risk of losing commercially sensitive information or intellectual property and is vulnerable to exploitative and costly behavior by employees.
Top four risks of not having a mobile phone policy
The risks of not having a mobile phone policy revolve around four key areas
- Risky employee behavior
- Corporate network security vulnerability
- Trending cost escalation
- Loss of Productivity
RISK #1 Employee Behaviour
A Company that does not formally disavow risky employee behavior around mobile device use opens itself up to accusations from employees that they “thought the behavior was acceptable.”
Some of the more common risky behaviours include:
- Using a mobile phone while driving
- Circulating inappropriate content via email
- Using messaging apps to bully, exclude or intimidate co-workers
Employees have been known to be remarkablely creative about justifying unreasonable behavior with their corporate devices.
A Techradar.pro survey found that 53% of us use our work devices for personal activity, from shopping to social networking, gaming and pornography. 5% will watch or listen to pirated material, 3% will 'sext', have compromising photographs or install a pornography app on their device; and 2% will have Tinder installed.
Even though it is against the law in Australia to handle a mobile device while driving, surveys consistently show that 32 per cent of drivers will read a text message and 18 per cent of drivers will send a text message while driving.
Risky employee mobile device use can have disasterous consequences for individuals and a Company including:
- embarrassment or humiliation
- injury or death to the employee or a bystander
- a harassment or intimidation/bullying claim against the Company
- a workplace safety claim against the Company
- increased costs incurred
- loss of productivity
Having an open unprotected mobile device is like inviting a stranger to come into your office and do what they like.
A corporate mobile phone policy would address risky practices like:
- Holding unsecured corporate files or information on a mobile device
- Downloading and using unapproved apps
- Opening the door to the Company network
- Compromising email programs
RISK #3 Trending Cost Escalation
In Australia most companies who provide their workers with a mobile device will do so with an associated telco service plan with built-in allowances for voice and data activity.
The excess charges for exceeding the allowance or for use which is not included in the allowance can be exhorbitant.
The most common types of non-compliant use include:
- 1900 numbers including adult services, competition hotlines and gambling
- 1300 numbers for directory services or premium messaging services
- international roaming charges where a roaming data pack has not been applied
- downloading entertainment from the internet such as movies, tv shows
- online gaming
- browsing video content on the web
RISK #4 Loss of Employee Productivity
Twenty-four percent of workers admit they spend at least an hour a day on personal email, texts and personal calls.
Australians have become so addicted to their smartphones that they can not imagine not checking them during business hours.
In fact the addiction to being always connected has even been given the (non)working title – nomophobia – by health professionals in the United States.
Australian schools know first hand the power of the mobile phone distraction. Most have already instituted a “not seen, not heard” mobile phone policy, and some schools have even taken to collecting phones at the start of class and returning them at the end of class.
Australian companies, however, have not really caught onto the massive impact on productivity that technology distraction has. Companies have not spelt out their expectations around personal mobile phone use and have not put management processes or consequences for non-compliance in place.
How to Build a Mobile Phone Policy that employees respect
A mobile phone policy will address all four of these risks and give employees clear guidance about acceptable and appropriate behaviour in their mobile device use.
How to build a Corporate Mobile Phone Policy (that protects your business and your employees), is an ebook for any person or team responsible for employee behavior and/or mobility costs.
- The benefits of having a corporate mobile policy
- The risks of not having a corporate mobile policy
- How to build a corporate mobile policy
- How to communicate a mobile policy to employees
- How to ensure employees adhere to the policy