The Pros and Cons of Providing Company Phones

Company phones may not be necessary for every workplace, but the practice is becoming more commonplace as workplace demands soar and managers seek to boost efficiency while minimizing costs. However, company phones aren’t without risk. Here are a few important factors to help you determine if the benefits outweigh the costs for your organization.

Pros of Company Phones

  • Constant connectivity: Company phones are instrumental in keeping employees connected to one another and boosting productivity throughout the workday. Additionally, with smartphones, employees do not have to come into the office to take care of urgent matters if they are out in the field. Instead, they can do so directly from their smartphone and more effectively manage their time.
  • Minimize liability: If your company data is leaked or stolen, you not only risk losing your intellectual property and trade secrets, but also could be at risk of a lawsuit if the data involves your customer’s personal information. If you allow employees to use their personal devices to access company email, you constantly have to worry about data being exposed if their devices are unsecured or stolen, YFS Magazine adds. By contrast, company phones allow you to control app use and sharing capabilities to ensure sensitive information is kept secure, notes the UPS Store.
  • Fixed costs: Do you currently reimburse employees for cell phone expenses? Did you establish a maximum threshold? Even if employees are limited to a fixed amount, how can you ensure the phone is being used solely for business purposes during the workday? Instead of using personal devices, employees with company phones are typically reluctant to spend excessive amounts of time yapping away with friends and family, texting or hanging out on social media during the workday because their activity can be accessed or tracked by their superiors.
  • Business plans: You may be worried about paying for so many phone bills for your employees. However, most cell phone carriers have dedicated business plans. For example, if you want to give your employees the iPhone 6 from T-Mobile, you can use their Simple Choice Plan for business, which gives you unlimited talk, text and data without signing an annual contract. And the best part is, you can scale your payment plan from one person to 10 or more lines.

Cons of Company Phones

  • Employee burnout: Providing key employees with cell phones may seem like the logical thing to do if you want to keep in touch with them after hours. But, what happens when their work-life balance takes a tumble and they burn out? Unfortunately, the company ends up spending more money to make up for their decreased productivity or cover time lost during their absence. So, if you do provide a phone for after hours, be sure to not abuse your employees’s time.
  • Increased payroll expenses: Do you have non-exempt employees who are entitled to overtime compensation? If so, you must be mindful of requests sent via company phones after hours. Reasoning: you are responsible for compensating them for time and a half for any work completed that spans beyond 40 hours, as mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • Budgetary restrictions: Are you a brand new startup on an extremely tight budget? If you’re not in an industry where major security concerns are prevalent, allow employees to access company email from their own mobile device. Just don’t mandate the practice, otherwise they may argue in favor of a reimbursement allowance or the provision of a company phone that you simply can’t afford.

Bottom line: While company phones can greatly benefit your organization, you must take the proper precautions to manage any risks.

 

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