In my Geedesk sales meetings with hoteliers I have come across one common objection and that is “We do not allow our employees to use smartphone during work hours”. Though this might sound like an amazing strategy, but in my opinion this is a counter productive policy.
The above study (the header image) by Frost & Sullivan indicates a 34% increase in employee productivity if they are allowed to use smartphones at work. A simple google search would turn in a humongous amount of search results favouring smartphone deployment in hotels. Inspite of so much data indicating the benefits of issuing smartphones for employees, it is a pondering question on why hotels are not convinced to let their employees use smartphones to carry out their day to day tasks.
When I asked this question to our customers I came across four common concerns:
- Monitor and managing the mobile devices centrally could be difficult.
- Employees could be using the mobile devices for their personal needs and this could drastically reduce employee productivity.
- Hotels are concerned about their guests’ privacy and do not want smartphone wielding employees to record or take photos of guests.
- Providing wifi or mobile data connectivity to all employees could be expensive and might pose a challenge to the IT team.
While these are really important and valuable concerns the current technological landscape provides solutions to these concerns and like every other solution the cloud could be a potent weapon to negate these concerns and at the same time roll out an organisation wide mobile device policy.
It is also important to note that these concerns to a certain extent do affect businesses even outside the hospitality industry.
In a survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan the data points indicated that the by using smartphones to perform their daily tasks employees gained an average of almost one hour of productive work time everyday. In addition to that employees also responded to a 34% increase on productivity which is substantial for any organisation.
It is also important to note that 80% employees check their emails first on their mobile devices prior to opening it on their laptops or desktops. This increases the ability to communicate with colleagues, customers, and partners throughout the day from anywhere which is absolutely critical to succeed in the modern business environment.
In the same Frost & Sullivan survey, there is a clear indicator that smartphones are not just table stakes in the 21st century; they literally make employees more efficient and productive by allowing them to get more done in a better way than before.
Overall, the major effects of using smartphones at work are the speed of innovation, flexible working opportunities, and the quality of collaboration with colleagues to serve guests. Not to mention the increase in productivity improvements in accuracy of job done.
Hotels and hoteliers do understand the benefits of providing mobile devices to their employees but are not able to do it effectively given the above concerns.
The solution to their concerns mentioned above that become a roadblock towards a successful mobile device rollout could be effectively countered with G Suite’s built in Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM).
The EMM enables hotels to control and monitor the company owned mobile devices, in addition to enabling custom security policies. IT executives can see all the configured devices on a single dashboard. With G Suite’s EMM they can perform remove wipe on lost devices and push security policies on active devices, irrespective of the devices’ location. This addresses the primary concern which is the challenge behind monitoring all of the company’s devices.
The first solution to the problem is to manage these mobile devices remotely and this could be achieved with an enterprise mobile management (EMM) software. Our EMM should allow the IT team to monitor the mobile devices remotely and to apply security policies from single console or dashboard.
With G Suite’s EMM IT administrators can now effectively lock down the play/ app store store and allow installation of only pre-approved apps. For example, apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube could be locked and removed from the play/app store on the devices. This would prevent the users from installing these apps on their mobile devices and on the contrary they can only install apps which have been pre-approved. So if an employee opens his/her company issued mobile device then he/she would see a filtered list of apps on the play store which the organisation has approved.
The G Suite EMM can also be used to block the employee camera if required. This ensures that the employees cannot take photos which might pose a threat to the guest’s privacy or might violate the hotel’s security policies. Settings like changing network, adding new accounts and toggling wifi hotspot can also be blocked using the G Suite’s EMM.
For constant connectivity hotels can provide a separate wifi access (different than the guest wifi) to the employees. This internet connection can additionally be allowed to pass through a firewall or proxy server on which custom policies can be applied to restrict unauthorised or certain traffic. This would further ensure that the employees do not consume data in excess.
The data points in this article indicate a clear message: smartphones make employees more productive and efficient at work, and deliver a better work-life balance to those who use them effectively. They are useful for access to a wide range of business and productivity apps. Smart organisations should take these indicators as a strong call to action. Today, only a small number of companies pay for their employees’ smartphones. This needs to change if businesses are to see the kinds of results that ongoing research and surveys are indicate on an ongoing basis.
Enterprise mobile management platforms like G Suite address most of the key concerns that hotels have today which are some of the main reasons behind the friction against adopting a mobile device strategy. We feel that in the coming years more and more hotels will understand the overall benefits of issuing mobile devices to the work force and there will be a tactical shift towards the opposite where every employee will have a mobile device which could be remotely managed by the organisation.
I sincerely hope that this article was valuable to you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. You can send us an email at sales [at] geedesk.com.