Sunday, March 17, 2013

Check Your Phone at the Door

Mobile phones, smart phones and tablets in the workplace have moved from convenience and luxury to productivity killers, security threats and liability creators. Companies are beginning to enact significant restrictions on use of smart phones at work, with one Chief Executive Boards International company deciding that employees' phones be kept in their lockers during work hours.

Why?  Well, the productivity, distraction and safety impacts are irrefutable. Employees aren't producing when they're making personal calls, checking personal email, web surfing, making or reading Facebook posts. Arguably, these distractions can cause process failures and, at the worst, accidents. An hour a day of lost productivity is conservative.  Mobile devices that bridge outside and corporate networks pose data security risks that are almost impossible to assess - a mobile device could become an open conduit to your network without the user's knowledge.

Beyond that, however, smart phones have the ability to record photographs, video or audio of workplace activities that could be a significant security or competitive threat. A disgruntled employee could easily find things to photograph or record that could later become a problem in an employment dispute. Confidential or trade secret information is at far greater risk if it can be photographed and electronically transmitted beyond your office or plant.

Think about it. Can your company afford an "anything goes" policy with respect to handheld devices? Would it be better to establish a policy where if someone needs to contact an employee, they do so through the switchboard, and employees leave their phones in their cars, lockers or purses? Perhaps you might want to establish a job grade cutoff for such a policy, if you need your managers to have phones where they can be reached throughout the building.

Here's an article on how some companies are coping with this new threat to productivity, confidenitality and data security:

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International
Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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