With the number of technologically reliant businesses on the rise, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) polices are becoming a new Best Management Practices standard. When employees are conducting your business from personal smartphones or computers it can pose a variety of potential threats to the sustainability of your bottom line. This article will discuss some of those threats and give advice on how your management team can best handle them.
For anyone out there not familiar with what the Fair Labor Standards Act is: It is the 1938 law that sets the minimum wage and determines who exempt and non-exempt employees are concerning overtime pay. Why is this law important? When your employees are answering emails, texts or phone calls after “normal business hours” it can be considered billable time.
Here are some recent examples of how this could potentially affect your business:
T-Mobile USA, Inc. was sued by employees who said that T-Mobile required them to use company issued smartphones to respond to work messages after hours without proper payment of overtime wages.
CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. employees sued under similar circumstances involving time spent after hours receiving and responding to messages on a work-issued cell phone.
Let’s take a look at a different scenario. This particular story is most pertinent to companies that have salesman, truckers or delivery drivers. On a routine day these traveling workers will regularly speak with other coworkers over the phone. What happens if your employee gets in an accident while on the phone with someone from your company? Having a hands free driving policy can remedy this situation.
Here is yet another example. As an employer: Do you have the right to search an employee’s personal phone? What if that phone has your business information on it? What if an employee is conducting your business from his/her personal email address? How can you obtain access to that email to ensure complete business records? How can you as a business owner ensure that your proprietary and confidential business information remains protected when employees are using personal email or unsecured Wi-Fi to send your clients information via their smart phone, tablet or computer? Having a search policy included in your BYOD policy can ensure that there are no secrets as to what employees are saying to both coworkers and clients.
The bottom line is this. If you do not already have a BYOD policy in place you are behind the pack. There are some websites online with basic templates of these policies but, keep in mind that no two businesses are alike. These policies need to be custom tailored according to a business, its employees and its operations.