For a lot of businesses, employee mobile phone usage was once a big problem for them. There have been some businesses that actually hired someone to walk around their office telling people to get off their phones. Some businesses outlawed employee devices altogether. There probably are some businesses out there that still limit the use of these devices in their office, but for most businesses, their employees’ smartphones are now completely part of their productivity strategy. Let’s take a quick look at the shift from banned to benefit in this month’s newsletter.
Let’s go back about five years (maybe a bit longer than that) to a time where not everyone had a smartphone. You had the holdouts with the burner flip-phones, you had the frugal person who couldn’t imagine paying $500 for a phone, and you had the person who didn’t even bother having a phone at all. As smartphone technology started to get better and better, so did the budget phones; meaning there was very little reason why someone would choose not to have a smartphone and the innumerable benefits that it brings.
Almost overnight, more people had smartphones than computers and did most of their computing right from their mobile devices. This is great, unless the phone is being used more than the workstation your business provided your employees. This led to a lot of businesses trying to police workers’ smartphone use, which has obvious problems. What could they do? Their workers were losing about an eighth of their productivity a day and not only that, the work was worse because they were constantly checking their phones.
Some genius came up with a plan to allow their workers to use their smartphones as much as they wanted as long as they were signed into a work profile. This accomplished two things, first, it allowed businesses to forgo the immense costs associated with purchasing, servicing, and maintaining smartphones for workers and it placated the employee’s need to be able to have unfettered access to their smartphones. Outside of a couple procedural hiccups, most businesses have successfully taken on this method. Now, employees are available to the business more, and they can do more on a device they are all too familiar with.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the way people conducted business, you did begin to see more flexibility growing inside of businesses. Where there was once a concerted effort to control the means of productivity, more businesses were providing employees the ability to have more time collaborating remotely.
Then the pandemic hit.
Many of the jobs that were once completed 9-to-5 inside an office were being moved off-site for public health reasons and companies had to immediately shift the way they managed their businesses. That remote flexibility that was once looked on as an employee perk became the way business was going to be handled, at least in the interim. Companies that had been toying with remote strategies and mobile productivity were in a better position to keep operational effectiveness up and saw productivity maintained where other companies saw sharp declines.
The benefits of a mobile management platform became obvious pretty quickly. Now, some companies are going back to the office and others are attempting a hybrid approach, but one thing is for certain, mobile management strategies have produced workforces that are more available and more productive.
The first thing that a company should consider is how the employee will interact with its network. Most people will opt-in to any smartphone policy that their employer has concocted just to be able to use their smartphones at work. I mean let’s face it, business owners today have their heads in the sand if they think they are going to keep their staff from utilizing their mobile phones while on the clock, especially if the employee works from home. That said, employees need to understand the business’ approach. They need to have control over their applications and data and remote access to both.
Having the proper mobile management platform is a must-have for a business.
This software will allow a business to control the way that employees access business data and applications, it will allow them to add in their filtering programs (content, spam, etc.) and it will allow technicians to control the situations that arise when an employee loses their phone. Being able to wipe business-related information off of a lost smartphone can keep business data from falling into the wrong hands.
On top of that, each business should have policies that consider cell phone usage at work as well as which devices are allowed to access network resources. This is often called a Bring Your Own Device policy, but in today’s connected environment, this needs to be expanded to smart devices and other Internet of Things devices. Every access point has to be covered in order to ensure that threats aren’t brought on to the business’ network. With remote workers, this becomes less of a consideration, but if yours is like many other businesses and is looking to have your people back in the office at some point, having their mobile devices managed has to be a huge consideration with the amount the average person uses theirs (~56 minutes per workday).
If this sounds like it is more complex than you’d like, you’ll want to contact the IT professionals at 415 IT as soon as possible to have them help you get your mobile policies and management updated and ready to help your company be as productive as it can be under the circumstances. Give us a call at (415) 295-4898 to learn more.
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