Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, to work started as an occasional thing several years ago, but has quickly become a pervasive reality. To use your personal smartphone, tablet or laptop for work seems increasingly natural. Employees are embracing this concept without any serious reservations. As more and more business activity becomes technology driven, to have electronic gadgets right by your side all the time make sense. The recent surge in Work from Home pushed this to new heights. According to a survey conducted by Logicalis about 75% of employees in high growth markets such as Brazil and Russia and 44% in developed markets bring their own devices to work.
Let's examine all the factors causing people to want to use their own devices at work.
- Familiarity: This may be the most relevant reason for someone to bring their own tablet or laptop to work. It may be the operating system, web browser, or other apps on their devices that they know so well and feel comfortable using.
- Convenience: Companies have been providing their employees mobile phones for business use for a few decades. Now those employees have to carry two phones, since everyone also has a personal phone. This duality is a nuisance. It is hard enough to care for one mobile phone and now they have to worry about two of them. The reality is that companies expect employees to be in contact 24/7, so company devices can't just be used at work. They have to be carried home, out to the store, etc. If the employees have a choice, they would much rather carry just one phone, their own, enabling them to be reachable by family and friends anytime. Also, it could be cheaper if their company offers to share the cost of using their device for business.
- Productivity: Convenience can also result in better productivity. Having fewer devices means fewer distractions. Fewer distractions equals less wasted time. Saving time is always good for productivity.
- Personal contentment: It makes employees feel good to be able to use their own devices at work. Higher employee morale is very important for any organization. Happier employees are more likely to work hard. A positive environment is also a factor in lower turnover. So, if an employer gives its employees the liberty to bring their own devices to work it may have more satisfied workers.
Allowing BYOD in your business does have its security concerns though. Every business owner should do a cost-benefit analysis. There are tools which can make BYOD safe and effective for you and your employees. Establish some basic policies for the devices as well as data access rules. Consider requiring employees to partake in regular security training. Make sure that any data and applications accessed by these devices are backed up. Consider the use of centrally managed UCaaS (Unified Communication applications as a Service) to provide a more professional appearance to clients on outgoing calls and messages as well as allow quick revocation of access if needed.
- Conclusion: People in the workplace are using their own devices so they can accomplish more in less time. It makes them happy to have their personal devices at work, and it makes them feel good about their job if they are allowed to use the devices that they are familiar with. However, your business’ reputation is on the line should a data breach occur. Putting together solutions which work well for everyone takes some thought and continual adaptation as solutions and threats change. Seek professional guidance. Productivity and security are not mutually exclusive, but it does take skill to put the pieces together without undue risk.