Careless Employees Make Flexible Working Costly
ItΓÇÖs a story that will have YahooΓÇÖs Marissa Mayer itching to say ΓÇ£I told you soΓÇ¥. Careless staff may be the downside to flexible working, costing their employers thousands of pounds in lost laptops and mobile devices.
A Freedom of Information request filed with the BBC has revealed that over the course of the last three years, its staff have lost 399 laptops, 357 mobile phones and 39 tablets, at a combined value of ┬ú728,000.
While some of the devices were reported as stolen, the majority were simply recorded as lost. This of course, is one of the downsides to flexible working ΓÇô while using mobile devices and laptops gives employees the opportunity to work anytime, anywhere, it also increases the likelihood of these devices going missing. Left on trains, mislaid in caf├⌐s ΓÇô the possibilities are many and as the popularity of flexible working increases, so will the number of missing devices.
After all, BBC staff are hardly alone. The GovernmentΓÇÖs Department for Business Innovation and Skills lost 17 laptops and 99 mobile phones during the same three-year period, while MI5 workers and even NASA employees have made the headlines after losing company laptops.
If this is what happens in some of the most security-conscious organisations in the world, what hope is there for the rest of us?
But do a few careless employees mean that companies should give up on flexible working altogether? Numerous case studies have shown that enabling employees to work away from the office can help businesses save money and increase employee motivation. They do, however, need to ensure that the value they derive from it far outweighs the costs of lost technology.
No doubt BBC staff will be receiving new guidance very soon. Reminding staff of their responsibility for work laptops and mobile devices is a sensible move, as is providing a basic set of flexible working guidelines to minimise the chances of devices going missing.
For those who choose to take advantage of flexible working but donΓÇÖt want to work from home, one of the best options is to work at a specialist business centre which offers a day pass facility. Staff keep an eye on the smooth running of the business centre and are much more likely to spot a forgotten laptop or mobile and do their best to return it to its owner.
For bosses who arenΓÇÖt keen on the idea of flexible working, the BBCΓÇÖs example offers the perfect justification. And while it might not be MayerΓÇÖs main reason for recalling employees to the office, thereΓÇÖs no denying it ΓÇô itΓÇÖs much more difficult to misplace a PC.
What do you think? Are employees too careless with work laptops and mobiles? What should businesses do to protect their mobile technology?