By 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own computer, phone or tablet at work.
We’ve been bringing our own devices to work for a while now, but until recently, this wasn’t the norm. Whether it’s just connecting our work email to keep in touch on the go or using our using personal computers to make presentations, BYOD adds a level of convenience that we, as employees, appreciate. It looks like employers are finally realizing the benefits of this trend. In fact, according to Gartner, half of United States employers will require BYOD by 2017. Imagine walking in on the first day at work with your beloved Macbook, your pretty Moto X phone and your ultralight tablet. Sounds pretty sweet!
But to many employers, BYOD is still a scary concept and to them, the risks outweigh the benefits. There are definitely some potential issues that employers worry about:
- Opening the floodgates to a loss of productivity. Allowing employees to bring their own devices may lead them to believe they’re free to do as they please at work, which could translate to lower productivity. After all, if you can play Angry Birds at work because you have your own phone, you will, right? Right, but chances are that those kinds of employees are already slacking. I believe it’s safe to assume that the employees who are productive will stay that way, and those who want to slack are probably already doing it on your devices.
- Less information ownership for the employer. If an employee leaves, what on their devices belongs to you, and how do you ensure you get it all back? Data should be safeguarded by your business – we’ll talk about that next – but businesses should ensure they set forth policies that define what happens when an employee terminates employment. Clear processes for when that time comes should alleviate ownership concerns.
- Security concerns.Will your confidential company information be secure if you allow employees to walk out the door with it on their own devices? Sure, BYOD can lead to information leaks if not implemented correctly. But with the right security measures in place, protecting company intelligence should be a walk in the park. At Base for example, we ensure all new employees are briefed on our security policies with respect to BYOD. For those who want an even more robust safeguard, there are enterprise-level solutions like Knox, which ensure the same standard of security on personal devices as on company-owned devices.
It’s not hard to see why employers are nervous about implementing BYOD policies. Samsung recently issued a report on Strategies to Solve Challenges of BYOD in Enterprise in support of their efforts to spread BYOD safely. There are always worries about the unknown. But you really shouldn’t worry.
The benefits of BYOD greatly outweigh the risks – and here’s why:
- BYOD makes employees happier at work. A recent survey conducted by Deloitte shows that employees who are allowed to bring their own devices to work are actually more satisfied when they’re there. Flexible IT policies and other perks keep employees in their jobs longer. Actually, employees are increasingly willing to trade a pay increase for great perks. And in a world where employees switch jobs every 2 to 3 years, satisfaction is key to keeping hiring and training costs down.
- Employees are on top of new technology. It’s a lot more difficult to bring a whole sales force onto the latest and greatest iPhone or Android device than it is for each individual employee to make the decision to switch. Employees are much more likely to switch devices within the recommended periods: 2 years for phones, 3 years for laptops, and so on. Access to up-to-date technology translates to faster devices, reduced loading time and more efficiency in each employee’s processes. Say goodbye to employees begging to have their old, slow laptops swapped out. Now that decision is solely made by the employee.
- Sales teams are more productive – and they sell more, too. Mobile devices allow sales teams to be responsive and productive on the go. And employees who are able to use the device of their preference – rather than the device they are provided by an employer – are much more likely to work from their mobile platform. BYOD also drives adoption of sales processes and tools, like your CRM software, since salespeople are more likely to log in from the road.
Implemented correctly, BYOD can bring great advantages to your business. As a post-PC company, at Base, this trend is near and dear to our hearts. That means we dedicate a lot of time to thinking about it and making sure Base satisfies the requirements of even the most discerning IT Manager, and the most demanding, tech savvy end user. Yes, we even wrote a book about it. Well, an ebook, actually: What BYOD really means for your sales force.
The point is, BYOD is not going away. The savvy, forward-thinking companies will embrace it and take the necessary precautions to implement it thoughtfully. You should be one of those companies.
More Tech articles from Business 2 Community: