If you are a small business owner and your company supplies staff with a cell phone, you need to get smart and look at ways to manage them. No matter how small the company, unregulated cell phone use can cause you some major problems.
This subject is often overlooked and because of its importance I have a whole section of this site dedicated to better cell phone management. You need to be aware of the potential problems and then realize that there are many different programs to help you – if you know where to look!
The Problems – What Problems?
Okay, so you are supplying your staff with mobile phones and of course you are paying the bills. Nowadays of course cell phones are much more than just phones, modern phones are many portable computers. You can go online, use social media and they can store important and often sensitive data -not just make calls.
The first problem you’re going to think of is the staff running up large bills on personal calls, pretty obvious and very common. Don’t wait until a large bill arrives before you address this issue. Set solid guidelines right from the start and make it clear that the company cellphone is for company business only, no personal use.
You might think that your staff making personal calls is not that big a deal, especially with some of the call and data plans available – there’s not that much money involved- right? Wrong!
The actual cost of the call or text is the least of your worries. You need to consider the amount of time they are wasting on non-business activity.
How much do you pay your staff per hour? Time soon adds up, how many hours per month could a staff member be wasting on personal calls, web browsing, texts and Facebook? Given how much time most people nowadays spend on these activities you might get a shock at how much this adds up over time. Then multiply it by the number of staff who could be doing this.
As you can see the potential for loss, from your point of view, is substantial and should not be ignored. Good management systems need to be put in place and you need to make your staff aware of these problems. You do not want them to think that you are just being petty over the small cost of a few phone calls or texts – there are much wider implications. Make them aware of the time issue and its associated costs to your business.
Here is an interesting article with some stats about cell phones in the workplace – worth a quick read.
Get Systems in Place from the Start
It is a good idea to draw up some sort of contract at the beginning when you supply a staff member with a company cellphone. No matter how formal or informal, make it clear that you have set policies for cell phone use. This can avoid fallouts and bad feeling down the line.
Not only is it important to have a policy regarding the use of the company phone but you also have to address their use of any personal cellphones. If they spend time on their personal cell phones, again they are doing so to your cost. As we have discussed the time cost to you is the major factor. People need to be aware that work time is exactly that.
How Can Technology Help You?
In an ideal world you would follow the examples above and everyone would behave in a responsible manner – but this is not an ideal world. More and more companies, large and small, are turning to technology to help manage company cellphones and their use.
There are a wide range of software programs to help with cell phone management but often people are unaware of what the software can do and how you can get the most from it.
You can use simple apps which will give you detailed logs of data usage and call time – allowing you to monitor the individual phones. This can be limited in many ways as it will not differentiate between company and personal use – instead you can only view how many minutes or how much data were used.
Other software can protect the phone – security apps which can help trace a lost or stolen phone and some which can even remotely delete sensitive data from the phone. Of course if there is any sensitive information held on your staff phones you needed take steps to protect them. Encryption software can be another very useful tool in more sensitive lines of work.
Cellphone monitoring software has become very popular especially amongst small business owners. I go into more detail in another article here, but the software can be used legally and ethically and allows very advanced monitoring and control. Monitoring software can provide a complete solution in one package, and for relatively little cost.
As always it comes down to your personal needs. A small company with reliable staff and perhaps nothing more than an informal agreement will keep everyone safe and happy. Being aware of the potential problems is the first step to assessing your business needs.
Common sense should also play a role – no one is suggesting that your staff are not entitled to make a few personal calls here and there. But when it escalates and multiplies, you can end up with serious problems.
Learning about some of the technology available to help you manage your company cellphone is important – and hopefully this site can help you. Be sure to read some of the associated articles on this site.