Employee handbooks are a smart way to establish state-specific company rules and procedures—including company property policies. Clearly defining what company property is, how it should be treated, and what consequences there are for abuse of that property are critical standards every business can benefit from. Even if your business doesn’t operate at a central location of have an inventory of physical assets, you still need a company property policy.

What is a company property policy?

A company property policy outlines the rules and expectations surrounding the use and care of the organization’s assets. This encompasses tangible items like buildings, equipment, and supplies, as well as intangible assets like intellectual property and data. The policy aims to safeguard these resources, ensure their responsible and efficient use, and prevent misuse, damage, or loss.

Typically, the policy will define what constitutes company property, specify authorized uses, and outline employee responsibilities. It may also address personal property brought onto company premises, security measures, procedures for reporting damage or loss, and consequences for violating the policy. By establishing clear guidelines, a company property policy promotes accountability, protects valuable assets, and helps maintain a secure and productive work environment.

Does my company need one?

While it may seem like it only applies to certain types of businesses—those with physical assets or large conglomerates—the fact is, every company can benefit from a well-written company property policy.

Here are some scenarios where implementing a company property policy is a good idea:

  • Asset ownership and accountability: When the company owns physical assets (e.g., equipment, vehicles, office furniture) or intangible assets (e.g., intellectual property, software, data), a policy helps define ownership, assign accountability, and outline responsibilities for proper care and use.
  • Preventing misuse and unauthorized access: This policy can specify acceptable use of property, set restrictions on personal use, and implement security measures to safeguard assets. For instance, not using a company computer for personal use.
  • Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements: In certain industries, there may be legal or regulatory requirements regarding the proper management and protection of company assets.
  • Data security and privacy: If the company deals with sensitive information or customer data, a policy on electronic resources can outline measures to protect data integrity, confidentiality, and privacy, reducing the risk of data breaches.
  • Preventing theft and loss: The policy can enhance security measures, set guidelines to conduct regular audits, and outline procedures for reporting and addressing incidents.
  • Employee termination and departure: The policy can define the procedures for the return of company property by employees upon termination or departure, ensuring that assets are retrieved, data is secured, and access is revoked.
  • Maintaining operational efficiency: A well-structured policy helps maintain operational efficiency by providing guidelines for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of company assets, reducing downtime, and ensuring optimal functionality.
  • Establishing a culture of responsibility: These policies promote a culture of responsibility among employees, emphasizing the importance of treating company assets with care.
  • Electronic resource use: If the company provides electronic resources such as computers, software, or networks, a policy on their use can prevent issues related to unauthorized software installations, misuse of company networks, or the introduction of security vulnerabilities.
  • Preventing disputes and conflicts: Clearly defined guidelines in a property policy can help prevent disputes or conflicts arising from misunderstandings about the use, ownership, or responsibility for company assets.

What should be included?

At its core, a company property policy defines property, specifies proper use and utilization, and lays down consequences for failure to comply. However, within the scope of these objectives, a property policy can get very nuanced and specific.

Depending on the scope and size of your business operations, the key components of a company property policy may include:

  • Definition of company property: Clearly define what constitutes company property, including physical assets such as equipment, vehicles, and office supplies, as well as intangible assets like intellectual property, software, and data.
  • Authorized use: Outline the authorized purposes for which company property may be used and specify any restrictions on personal use—as well as consequences for non-compliance.
  • Responsibility for company property: Assign responsibility for the care, maintenance, and safekeeping of company property to specific individuals or departments within the organization.
  • Accountability: Establish procedures for tracking and monitoring company assets, including the use of inventory management systems and regular audits to ensure accountability.
  • Maintenance and repairs: Provide guidelines for the proper maintenance, repair, and replacement of company property to ensure optimal functionality and longevity.
  • Security measures: Implement security measures to protect company assets from theft, unauthorized access, or damage, such as access controls, surveillance, and data encryption.
  • Return of company property: Establish procedures for the return of company property by employees upon termination of employment or when the assets are no longer required for business purposes.
  • Use of electronic resources: Address the use of electronic resources, including computers, software, and data, and establish guidelines for responsible and ethical use to protect against security breaches and data loss.
  • Consequences for violation: Specify the consequences for employees who violate the policy, which may include disciplinary actions, fines, or legal consequences.

Create your own company property policy with SixFifty

SixFifty’s Employee Handbook Creator can help your business generate your own custom, state-specific employee handbooks for all 50 states. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you generate compliant company property policies that safeguard your business’ most critical assets.