According to Forbes, 81% of CEOs surveyed said that mobile technologies are strategically important for their business. But these same CEOs see several challenges as they seek to expand their mobile capabilities: effective (productive) use of mobile by employees, cybersecurity and the ability to analyze employee usage. Creating a mobile policy is key to addressing these challenges and getting the most out of your mobile technology investment. 

Nick Allo from Orlando IT company, SemTech IT Solutions shares 7 tips that will help you design a policy that helps you meet your goals.

1. Show You Put Employee Safety First

There are laws in most places against using devices while driving or even while stopped at a red light. Yet many employees feel pressure to answer calls/texts/emails or use devices unsafely while driving. Some attendance policies can even be written in such a way that it seems that the expectation is that you’ll call management while driving if you get stuck behind a wreck on the Interstate.

Make it clear that people should either use hands-free technology, which is much more affordable now or only use devices while parked. You might also encourage the use of safety features like iPhone’s, “Are you driving?” feature that detect car-like movement and requires the user to answer before unlocking their device;.

2. Don’t Be Too Rigid

When creating a policy, realize that some departments may need to use devices differently. And this may put them on the “wrong side of the law” when it comes to your policy if it’s too rigid. That’s not fair to employees and can generate a culture of “lawlessness.” So gather input from the various departments on any policy. Know how it would impact them. Get feedback from employees and try to create a policy that’s both effective and reasonable.

Proactively adapt the policy to meet certain departmental needs rather than allowing them to decide for themselves what does and doesn’t apply to them.

3. Be Thoughtful About How You Limit Access to Customer/Company Data

You may restrict access to certain databases and customer relationship management (CRM) systems while on a mobile device to protect customers. When doing so, make sure that your field employees don’t have to jump through hoops to access the information they need to do their jobs. You can balance convenience with security with the right tools.

Consider limiting access for remote employees who do not need to access this information on the go. You may also think about granting access while the device in on the company’s secure wi-fi, but restricting certain access when using any other network. You may also read different resources about information security policy. To guide you in making policies regarding the restriction of access.

4. Establish Security Measures

With the right tools, you can deactivate and wipe a lost or stolen phone fast and remotely. Make sure you have these tools in place to avoid a hack. For many companies, gaining access to a single iPhone could open the company up to a massive data breach. Saved passwords, emails, text communications and more are all their for the thief to exploit.

Give employees a specific timeframe in which to contact IT security if a phone goes missing. Additionally, keeping GPS enabled on devices can prevent most lost or stolen scenarios, so establish a policy around this tracking.

5. Make Social Media Usage Part of Your Policy

Social media is addictive and perhaps nothing in modern time can drain productivity faster. And the worst thing about it is that many people underestimate just how much time they waste of social media.

Some departments like contact centers, marketing, sales, etc. need to access social media for business purposes. And people often check social media on breaks, so banning outright is rarely the answer.

But be clear about your expectations. Encourage employees to track their screen time. This will show them how much time they spend on various tasks.

6. Think Enforceable

It undermines your authority when you have a policy that you can’t enforce. People do what they want. Everyone knows it. And you have chaos. But at the same time, you don’t want employees to feel like you’re looking over their shoulders all the time. That’s uncomfortable.

Know that there are tools that can help you track almost any aspect of mobile policy and you can do so in a way that doesn’t feel like “Big Brother”. It pays to research those tools before creating the policy since they’ll help you understand what’s enforceable and what isn’t.

7. Keep It Simple

Keep things simple. The shorter and more concise the mobile policy, the easier it is to read. Be thorough. But realize that you won’t be able to cover everything. There will be one-off cases that need to be handled as such. And you may decide to incorporate them in future iterations, if they have a large enough impact and scope.

When in doubt, consult a technology services professional who understands creating a mobile policy, mobile security and mobile policy enforcement. That’s how to create a policy that works.