Mobile phones are a vital piece of business equipment for many business owners and their staff. While they offer substantial advantages, using mobile phones in the workplace is not without challenges.
Advantages of mobile phones
Using mobile phones in business can boost productivity, mobility, safety and morale of your workforce. Mobiles can help employees to:
- improve customer service
- remain in contact with the office, customers and suppliers
- increase mobility
- increase productivity
- work remotely (eg work from home or away from an office)
Connecting a mobile phone or a laptop to the internet can give employees an even greater degree of flexibility. Read more about mobile technology.
Disadvantages of using mobile phones in business
Significant business challenges can emerge from using mobile phones at work. For example:
- Workflow disruption - always-on communication in the form of personal and work-related calls can disturb employee workflow and decrease their productivity.
- Compromised work-life balance - 'all hours' availability can interrupt your employees' personal life if they receive calls outside their working hours.
- Costs - providing mobile phones to your workforce can be expensive. However, you can enable features on your handsets and SIM cards to restrict the use of phones to business purpose only. You can also choose a tariff that suits company usage. Speak to your service provider about what is possible.
- Legal issues - the law prohibits using handheld phones while driving. If you require or permit your staff to use a handheld mobile phone while driving on duty, you could be committing an offence.
- Territories - if you expect mobile users to travel overseas, you should check costs. Keep in mind that you may need 'tri-band' handsets if travelling to North America.
When employees use company mobile phones for reasons unrelated to work, the devices can become an unwelcome distraction at the very least, and a legal and operational risk at worst.
To avoid potential problems, you should have a clear policy on the use of mobile phones at work. See our sample telephone usage policy.