MONEY SAVING SCHEME OR ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN?
Despite what the papers say, many businesses, particularly small ones, are still feeling the pinch and looking for ways to save money. Sometimes, however, what looks like a really good idea, can end up costing you far more than you were looking to save.
A client of mine with a small sales workforce was trying to cut his overheads to make ends meet. He looked at the bill he was facing for providing mobile phones and i pads and decided to cancel the contract and encourage his staff to use their own equipment. He reasoned that they all had their own devices, many of which were on unlimited call and text packages, so it wasn’t costing them any more to make calls and send texts on behalf of the business. As the quid pro quo, he said that he would turn a blind eye to the fact that they’d be spending a bit of work time on making personal calls and texts, so they had the benefit of being able to stay in touch with family and friends during the day.
In theory there was nothing wrong with his plan and if he’d had a company policy on the devices and when, where and how they could be used, this would be an end to the matter. The problem was that he only looked at the costs savings, and not at the risks he was taking.
Below are just some of the things he SHOULD have considered and addressed before he decided to cancel the company phone contract and ask staff to use personal equipment for company business.
1. Make sure devices are secure – what steps have you put in place to protect them against unauthorised/unlawful access; 2. Make sure data transfers are secure, such as between devices and the organisation’s systems; 3. Keep control, so that if, for example, the device is lost or stolen, the information was safe; 4. Have an ‘end of contract’ policy for when staff leave, so that there was an obligation on the staff to hand over and delete information; 5. Have a clear “Acceptable Use” Policy so that both the employer and the employee understand their responsibilities.
6. Have a clear boundary between what is work data and what is personal data.
These are all things that a well worded policy should cover, which could have been produced for a relatively nominal fee. This would have meant that when a senior member of his sales team left and took all of his work contact details with him (stored in his personal phone) it would have been a much more straight forward process to retain that information and preserve the contacts for the benefit of the company. Unfortunately, no such policy was in place, so it’s likely that the company lost several big clients, the value of which is much greater than the cost of the phone bills that were being saved.
If you’re looking for ways to save money without costing the company, let’s find a bar that’s doing happy hour, have a few two for one cocktails, and discuss your options.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Free phone advice!