Smartphones and other mobile technologies are as important to the modern office as paper and pens were years ago. They help your small business increase productivity by 85% if used properly. But there are security and employee use concerns.
Small Business Trends spoke with TRUCE Software CEO, Joe Boyle. He explained how to create a mobile device policy that works for your small business.
Creating a Mobile Device Policy
He started by talking about how any policy needs to balance mobile device usage and compliance.
Simple and Effective Policies
“We spend a lot of time talking with our customers about how they use simple and effective mobile device management policies,” he said. “We think about them being simple, smart and enforceable.”
Small businesses need to start putting one of these policies together by asking some simple questions. Laying some groundwork for a policy means deciding what the goals of letting mobile devices into the workplace are.
Avoid the One Size Fits All Trap
These can include both long term and short-term objectives. Think about a team that’s involved with a deadline that has a quick turnaround time. They might need access to different info than the broader base of your employees.
“All to often mobile device policies become one size fits all,” Boyle says. He adds deciding what’s allowable and what isn’t is another aspect.
What might be considered okay when you’re sitting in the office is different when you’re driving or operating heavy machinery.
A good policy for a small research and development facility should cover what can be recorded and photographed. That type of example applies to a number of small businesses. It should cover information like access to customer information.
Consider Social Media
“You need to ask if you think it’s a drain to productivity to let workers access Facebook or Twitter in the office,” Boyle says.
It all depends on the kind of industry you’re in as a small business owner. For example, a smaller digital marketing firm needs to use social media as a part of any campaign. The same might go for a retailer with a brick-and-mortar and an online presence.
Social media access might not apply to other kinds of small businesses like a law firm.
It Needs to Be Enforceable
“There are very few things as useless as a mobile device policy that’s not enforced,” Boyle says.
Any good policy needs to be flexible. For example, small businesses need to enforce a ban on texting while driving on company time. On the other hand, productivity increases when employees can use their smart phones in a cab.
In other words, these policies need to be flexible but enforceable at the same time. This is especially critical for the small business where time and resources are always in short supply
Look to Software
Software is one of the answers. Products like the one available from Truce allow you to enforce policies by activating the app when employees are doing certain things. There are managed and non managed zones available. That way employees can have the same off-app downtime when necessary for breaks and lunch.
But this type of software can prevent phones from buzzing and workers from scrolling on construction sites.