Bring your own device (BYOD) workplaces are increasing in popularity. It is becoming more important for employees to have constant access to data. The easiest solution for immediate access to data is for employees to bring their own devices to work. Consider the pros and cons of this type of format to decide if it is right for your business.
It seems like every progressive workplace is embracing our dependence on our devices and welcoming a bring your own device format to their office. Bring your own device is a recent trend where employees use their own personal devices to work from. These devices can be laptops, tablets, cell phones and other forms of hardware or software.
Sometimes employee-owned devices are used in a workplace alongside company owned ones. BYOD has been common for a long time and has grown in popularity ever since employees have been using their cell phones for work related tasks. But we are starting to see employee owned laptops and tablets being used just as much as cell phones.
Many employees are more comfortable working from their personal devices. People don’t want to get over the learning curve of using a new device. Additionally, rather than an organization offering several different types of devices, employees can use whichever they feel comfortable with by bringing their own.
A lot of smaller companies favour BYOD since it eliminates the cost of computers and other forms of technology employees would work from. It is beneficial in the not-for-profit sector to reduce overhead costs. Since many people already own devices to work from, it is an easy format to implement. It has become redundant for a company to provide a cell-phone when someone would already have one anyway. These are just some of the most common reasons companies have been switching over to BYOD over the last few years.
One accepted benefit to BYOD is that it increases employee productivity. This is true for a few reasons. People are most comfortable working from their own devices which are set to their personal preferences. Employees are going to get more work done if they are more comfortable with a device they are using.
BYOD isn’t just limited to hardware. Many employees have software or applications on their computer that allows them to complete tasks more efficiently. If they weren’t welcome to bring their own laptop or phone, they would lack the tools that allow them to do their job better.
Another key reason that BYOD makes employees more productive is the ability to have access to information 24/7. Many organizations that use BYOD compliment it with allowing their employees to work from home. If BYOD employees work from home, they will have access to the data and files they need. It allows employees to be more flexible about where they work and their hours of work.
BYOD can blur the lines of work-life balance. BYOD employees are constantly connected to their work, even when using their device on their personal time. A BYOD format is often encouraged when employees are expected to answer a call or email from work at any time of the day. You need to carefully consider how this will affect your employees and ensure your work/life balance policy supports healthy employees.
It can also cause more stress for employees. They are responsible for the sensitive information kept on their devices. The stress of protecting their devices even when not at work may further blur the lines of work/life balance. Employees also need to be in a position where they can afford a new device if the one they are working on gets damaged or broken. This could cause even more work-related stress.
BYOD is generally considered to be a cheaper alternative for employers. It can eliminate the overhead expenses of computers, tablets, cell phones and the data plans that go along with such devices. However, it can also be more expensive in some ways.
For a long time, employee cell-phones were considered a benefit of working at a job. When you require employees to bring their own phone and expect it to be used for work, you should be offering benefits in other ways-medical, dental, pensions, free lunches etc.
A lot of BYOD companies don’t strictly rely on employees working from their own devices. Most use a hybrid model where workplace devices are available and employees are encouraged to bring their own device if it makes them more comfortable to work from. It is unlikely you are going to eliminate all of your technology costs.
BYOD can make your company more vulnerable to security risks which can end up costing you more money.
Unfortunately, BYOD is causing some major headaches for companies when it comes to IT security and compatibility. Corporate data can be left vulnerable if employees fail to update security software on their devices. If devices are used from wireless access points that aren’t protected, their data is vulnerable to threats. It is difficult for a company to monitor where an employee accesses wireless connections outside of the workplace.
A lost or stolen device is another common way data can be left vulnerable. If you decide to switch over to BYOD, IT teams need to have to ability to remotely remove sensitive data from an employee’s device.
Compatibility can become an issue as well. Employees will probably be using a range of different devices and different models of these devices. You will need to ensure that your systems can run a variety of different platforms and variations.
If you are thinking of making the move to a BYOD format, it is probably best to start with a hybrid workplace first. Provide devices in the office for employees to work from and allow employees to work from their personal devices if they feel more comfortable doing so. Limit devices to those that will be compatible with your company. Ensure you find a reliable IT company to minimize the threats associated with BYOD workplaces.