Telecommuting is becoming more common because workers can complete the same tasks at home as they could in the office. This makes it easier for workers because they don't have to drive or take the train, but there are still some challenges here and there that employees have been struggling with. Most businesses give their remote employees computers, smartphones and tablets with a data plan. Should these employees have an unlimited data plan, or is it better to pay for a specific amount of data?
Here is a diagram reflecting the monthly cost of unlimited data plans in different countries.
One of the biggest benefits of unlimited data is that you can ensure that your employee is always connected to the Internet. He or she can easily work on tasks regardless of location. This also creates a level of confidence that your employee can complete tasks without hunting for a hotspot. While most carriers won't turn off data privileges if the employee uses too much data, there are two possible outcomes of going beyond the limit.
The first and least likely is that the employee will lose his or her data connection. This rarely happens because it angers employees, is difficult for employers and carriers can make a lot of money from this opportunity. The more likely outcome is that you'll pay overage fees. This can make employees hesitant to use their data connection.
Unlimited data ensures that you don't have to pay overages, and it keeps your employees tied to the Internet at all times.
Con: Throttled Data
Unlimited data plans have become less popular because nearly every provider throttles data. You'll typically get about 2GB of 4G data, but the rest will be at 3G speeds. Some providers will even limit the speed to 2G or 1X if you use too much 3G data.
While 3G is reasonably fast, it may not be good enough for certain employees. If you create effective usage policies about what employees can do with the data plan, then you might be able to reduce the effects of data throttling. At the same time, it's likely that at least some of your remote employees will have to deal with a 3G connection, which can reduce efficiency and productivity.
If a remote employee is home, then he or she is probably using a protected router that people can't access without a password. That's good because it ensures that the employee's computer and devices are safe. If the employee is working somewhere else, then he or she can either connect to the data plan or use a free hotspot.
Most people will use hotspots because they can browse websites without using the data plan. Not only that, but the speed is often nearly as good as a 4G connection. Businesses should be wary of this because public hotspots are unsafe since hackers can easily see what people are doing. It's also easier to sneak into the person's computer.
Unlimited data will keep employees from feeling tempted to use a hotspot. Be sure to make a policy about this to ensure that employees know the dangers of a public Internet connection. They should also have their devices set to only use the data plan.
Con: Costs More
Unlimited data plans tend to cost more if you don't consider the possible overage fees. For example, if your employees typically use about 5GB of data, then it would probably be cheaper to get a limited plan. Not only will your employees get enough data, but you'll avoid the high costs of unlimited data.
This is very situational because it largely depends on how much data your employees use. If you're in a niche where large files are the norm, then unlimited data is probably better. If your employees are commonly working on small text files, then a limited data might cost less. You also won't have to worry about throttled data with a limited plan.
When cost is an issue for your business; consider free mobile plans to help maintain lower overhead. For example, Scratch Wireless offers a variety of cost efficent solutions.
Is unlimited data good for remote employees? It largely depends on what the employee is doing and your business policies, but it definitely can be valuable. Not only does unlimited data improve digital safety, but it also ensures that your employees can work even if a hotspot isn't around. At the same time, you may have to worry about throttling and high prices.