Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mobile phone poilcy

Mobile phones for staff and how we do it

Employees are reimbursed monthly for mobile phone expenses if approval is given by their manager. The reimbursement amount varies by department, but generally it's one amount for voice and one amount for voice plus data.

Cost Savings
We saved up to 75% on mobile phone costs from when we managed it in a traditional corporate-provision model. We found that staff were much more conservative with their calling plans and were less likely to go over minutes or run up huge international calling expenses when they managed their invoices directly.

One Phone
Staff appreciate not having to carry both a work and personal phone. Our adoption of this policy came at a very good moment in the evolution of phone device technology--our timing couldn't have been better. Just as we were rolling out this policy, the upswing in usage in smart-phones (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Tero, etc.) was just beginning.

Device Support
For voice-only, any devices can be used for voice are supported, of course. Any smartphone can be used for email, calendar, and contacts as long as it works with our provider. We use Google Apps, which means Blackberry, iPhone, and Android are easy to support. Our users tend to follow the general market trends so iPhone and Android are the most popular and easy to support. We can also enforce our security policy (see below) through centrally managed security settings. In the past Blackberry's were more popular and caused many headaches because of the difficulty of supporting an IMAP-only connection to mail via those devices. iPhones and Android devices are easy to setup and rarely require intervention from support staff after instructions are presented. We do not support hardware problems with devices. Staff are not reluctant to take problems with equipment back to their mobile provider.

If an employee is connecting to corporate email systems they must comply with our Mobile Device policy. The two pieces where this mostly affects people is that their phones must require a password/code (or swipe pattern) when they lock, and they must set their phone to wipe all data after seven unsuccessful entry attempts.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Games make you productive

According to Jane McGonigal playing games makes you more productive. She does have a different take on what being productive really means, though. But I think she's on the right track.

This is a great fit for IT staff--how many geeks don't like a good game now and then. Encouraging game play to focus the mind and build confidence has the potential to improve performance, not to mention make your staff happier. Those pool, foosbal, and air hockey tables in offices maybe have more usefulness than just a place to blow off steam and retain workers.

Jane says this in the Washington Post Express, "Playing a game before taking a test or making a presentation, even just for five minutes, can really make you more confident."

I plan to consider ways to encourage game play at strategic times during the day and try to find ways to measure the results.