If your company provides employees with cell phones – especially smartphones – you may want to consider rewriting the policy on how employees can use them.
That’s because the vast majority of employers are spending way too much on this popular fringe benefit.
Visage Mobile, a company that monitors the cell phone usage of its clients’ workers, recently analyzed employees’ cell phone usage and found companies are paying a lot for things they’re probably not aware of.
In fact, the average company spends $8,361 each year on workers’ ringtones, apps and premium text services, according to Visage.
The companies in this analysis spend an average of $852,000 to provide cell phones to their employees.
And 12.5% of that is spent on what Visage calls “bad spend.” This includes things like overages, roaming fees and non-work-related downloads.
Here’s a glance at the types of things workers are getting to rack up the bill:
- 10% of employees pay for premium SMS (short messaging service) texts for things like horoscopes and celebrity news alerts, and
- 10% of employee downloads are for “adult-oriented” apps – for dating, etc.
The Visage study analyzed usage by 480,000 employees from 450 businesses, as well as data from cell phone carriers and employers’ HR departments.
In some cases, employees aren’t even aware they’re being charged for the services. Some companies are able to load apps onto staffers’ devices and charge them for those services even if the employees didn’t order them.
Problem is, because employees aren’t footing the bill, they’re probably not looking for anything that’s amiss.
So it’s up to employers to monitor employees’ cell phone bills for an unusual activity and/or charges. Talk to finance and make sure they’re doing a line-by-line analysis of staffers’ phone bills, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Also, it can’t hurt to spell out in your policy exactly what employees can – and can’t – use their company-provided cell phones for. The more details, the better.