Ask any business owner that offers company mobiles to their employees and they will tell you that one of the biggest costs to their firms is when their employees use their company mobile phones for personal use!
Image Credit: Kris Krug (Flickr).
This can often be a big problem for many firms regardless of size, because it is ultimately the responsibility of the business to pay a network operator for any costs that appear on its telecom billing systems outside of a tariff, regardless of who used the mobile phone or for what purpose.
In order to combat this issue, many businesses have implemented a mobile phone policy for all company-operated mobile phones, and get employees to agree to the terms before being given a handset; this gives the business the right to bill the employee for any personal calls, texts or data usage that has been used on the company’s mobile phone.
It also gives them the right to withdraw the mobile phone from the employee if they are seen to be abusing the system or anything that it trusts them with. If you are considering setting up such a policy for your firm, here are some key points that you should cover as you draw up your new policy.
Make sure employees know about your privacy policies
Considering you are giving employees a mobile phone to use for business purposes and not personal ones, you should make them aware of your privacy policies.
This is so that you cover yourself from the threat of legal action should they take issue with seeing something of a personal nature on your company-provided mobile phone.
Retain mobile numbers
Although this is pretty straightforward as it happens by default anyway, you should ensure that your employees do not try to take their business mobile numbers with them when they leave your company.
If your firm has a number of mobile phones on a corporate contract with a network operator, employees wouldn’t normally be able to take their business number with them. Another benefit to blocking such actions is that they cannot poach any of your customers when they leave.
Audit mobile bills on a regular basis
It is virtually impossible to limit employee calls, messages and data usage to work-related activities only, so a certain amount of trust needs to be placed with your employees.
As with personal contracts, business mobile contracts incorporate a certain amount of free talk time, text messages and data. Your policy should include provision for doing regular bill checks and checking if a large number of employees’ calls, for example, are made to one particular telephone number.
Most firms don’t have much issue with employees using their business phones for personal use as long as they do not go over any contractual usage limits which cause the firm to pay more for their particular bills.
Employers are entitled to monitor employee activity, so long as they are told about it, and surveillance is not done in secret. Your policy will need to spell this fact out to your staff, as many employers want to track where their assets (such as mobile phones) go.