Technology, we all have some form of it. For most, it’s that $500+ computer we carry around in the palm of our hand, our back pocket or on our wrist that can help us find the nearest gas station, our destination, the weather, what’s playing at the local theatre and the ability to purchase a ticket and select a seat or, we can just watch a movie on it. It contains our telephone, e-mail, access to the internet and a host of applications we now cannot live without. It enables us to be mobile, flexible, agile, efficient, and accessible.
Most employees now have some type of these devices. Each year, the devices get smaller, faster, better and in many cases cheaper. I was one of the last employees at my previous company to hand in a company owned Blackberry and buy my own $500+ hand held computer/smartphone (the magical BYOD.) I was devastated to lose access to my e-mails which were accessible 24/7 with a quick click of a few keys and a password no matter the time of day or where I was. I was then introduced to Good Technology. On my personal smartphone, I could have my work and personal e-mail. Such joy!
What does this mean for employers? That can be a huge savings in technology expenses for companies. Purchase an application like Good Technology, and you can provide your employees secure access to company data and not have to buy everyone a device. Sounds like a win-win, right?
Fast forward to this summer… we were working with a company in the process of downsizing real estate. We were helping leaders with process redesign to enable employees to work remotely. During a fact finding meeting, a business leader mentioned how Good Technology enabled her team to communicate while they were out in the community and team members were now also accessible in the evenings and on weekends. She felt communications had increased dramatically since everyone had Good installed on their personal smartphones. She wasn’t concerned about communications when they were scheduled to begin to work from home full-time. Human resources leaders were in this meeting and you should have seen the look on their faces when they realized this technology was provided to non-exempt employees without enforcing restrictions on its use. No one had considered that non-exempt employees should be communicating only during regular work hours and that prior approval needed to be granted, along with hours tracked for work outside of the standard work day – and all of which needed to be included in an updated corporate policy. Oops!
This is a very clear case where technology superseded policy – and this company is not alone. During a recent presentation at the NEHRA conference this fall, we polled HR leaders in attendance and found 100% of these leaders have some type of mobile technology in the workplace yet only 55% have policies and procedures written specifically for mobile work. Even fewer (45%) have formal mobile work programs and about half of those (23%) have agreements in place with their mobile workers. As employees continue to purchase personal technology that’s smaller, faster and easier to use, they’re going to want to do their work with it when and where they want – especially if a company can’t keep up with the latest innovations. If a company purchases new mobile-enabling equipment to meet the needs of the business or allows BYOD, Human Resources must work in conjunction with the business and IT to confirm policies and procedures are updated to ensure laws are being followed, risk is mitigated and employees are working efficiently, effectively, safely and securely. Do you really want an hourly employee accessing your company’s servers off hours on a Saturday morning in Starbucks?