Companies worldwide are equipping their workforce with the latest mobile technology. Many company-provided mobile devices allow for personal use so employees aren’t inconvenienced by being required to carry multiple devices.
This is commonly referred to as Corporate Owned Personally Enabled or COPE. With an ever-evolving mobile ecosystem, IT leaders are forced to continually adjust the rules and devise new approaches, and that’s likely to continue as complexity increases.
A well-established mobility program develops policies and procedures that extend beyond the traditional focus on technology and security. Here are five recommendations:
1. Let employees know privacy isn’t absolute
When devices are used for both business and personal communication, the employer has a legitimate stake in the content stored on the device, but it’s important to make sure employees know this upfront. Employers should clearly specify privacy expectations in company policy so there are no surprises. For example, employees that use a personal browser on the corporate WiFi network may be subject to screening.
2. Make allowances for personal use overages
Traditionally, employees who use the same device for business and personal use typically get a set amount of data for business use and may be responsible for personal charges that exceed that amount. This approach is difficult to enforce, not cost-effective, and, in many cases, not fair.
It’s recommended that organisations forgive a certain amount of personal overages and focus more on employees that regularly exceed their usage, regardless of whether it was for business or personal use.
3. Make sure employees notify IT about international travel
Employees can incur enormous roaming charges if they use their devices during international travel.
The IT team should have established procedures in place to minimise it, so make it a policy that employees are required to notify the company in advance of an international trip, or upon arrival in a roaming region, so the company can take steps to avoid huge fees. There are advanced methods available to make this a seamless experience for end-users.
4. Clarify overtime eligibility in the context of device usage
Non-exempt employees should generally not expect to be automatically eligible for OT for using their device after the workday is done. After performing due diligence on overtime laws, for each operating region, make sure the technology or mobile device policy conforms to all applicable regulations and that employees understand it.
5. Ensure employees have access to their personal information upon exit
Many employees will have extensive personal information on their corporate device, including personal photos and videos. At minimum, the organisation needs to emphasise that employees should backup their personal information regularly.
However, in more mature organisations, we recommend that recovery of personal information be facilitated even after an employee leaves the organisation. There are advanced methods available to make this a straight-forward process for organisations while maintaining information security.
Whether your company provides devices to employees, or reimburses team members who use their own mobile devices on the job, the complexity around policy and procedures are immense and easily exceed the five recommendations above.
An ongoing focus on the mobility program will help strengthen employee relationships with the company and can also protect both parties from excessive charges, data loss, productivity loss, and more.
Harjot Sidhu is VP of Consulting at Vox Mobile.