Once upon a time, the thought of bringing your own device to the office was nearly akin to anarchy. Today, the work environment is much different, with companies throughout the world not only welcoming personal devices but even requiring the implementation of a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.
According to Gartner, BYOD will be a requirement in more than 50 percent of workplaces by the end of the year, and 85 percent by 2020. One of the reasons for this trend is the realization among companies that a considerable amount of cost savings can be realized when hardware requirements are negated. Plus, efficiencies are introduced when employees can rely on familiar devices set to their own preferences.
At the same time, companies are also considering the benefits associated with keeping employees happy. It’s a competitive workforce, one where changing jobs is a common occurrence, especially among millennials. These are the top benefits of BYOD:
One of the most significant perks of an established BYOD program is that workers are more accessible than ever before. Since one device is used for both personal and professional communications, employees are more apt to have their devices on hand. Since so much has moved to the cloud where business applications are concerned, this also means that employees have access to work systems from nearly anywhere. As one could imagine, the line between work and home begins to fade very quickly.
Multiple generations co-exist in the current employment market, and the response to the work/home blur seems to vary by generation. Where millennials may demand definitive lines around work and free time, other generations seem to be more willing to conduct work and business communication during non-traditional hours or from home. Understanding these differences within the enterprise is important. By assigning roles and responsibilities thoughtfully, leaders are more likely to select the right personnel for each and ensure a greater level of success.
Field Agents and Telecommuters
BYOD programs have made it much easier for outside sales, field reps, and remote workers to stay engaged and accessible. For field reps especially, BYOD improves work/life balance and reduces stress levels by allowing them to complete tasks requiring system access without having to report to a company location. The ability to use tablets and other mobile devices to get things done saves these employees hours of delay and added effort.
BYOD has also made it possible to create work-from-home positions, which have been shown to greatly increase productivity and worker satisfaction. Remote and field workers are also more likely to feel included in company communication and events since they’re fully connected from afar.
Benefits Outweigh Concerns
As BYOD programs came into existence, technical teams were unsure how to effectively manage security, privacy, and data ownership. Even while struggling through these growing pains, organizations quickly realized that the advantages they were seeing in better productivity and improved company culture were worth the work in establishing the policies.
Even with these promised benefits, however, BYOD policies still bring with them a number of challenges. Allowing myriad devices to access the network from anywhere in the world introduces vulnerabilities. The 2016 Crowd Research BYOD & Mobile Security Report cited protecting data as the top concern for companies considering BYOD. Decision-makers are concerned with data leakage and loss as the potential for unauthorized access to the network intensifies with multiple users and devices.
Before BYOD can be adopted, companies have to understand current work systems, application demands, and user behaviors. The BYOD policy must then outline:
- Unacceptable actions
- The monitoring software that will be put in place
- The enforcement when policy adherence isn’t met
- The steps are taken when a device is upgraded, lost, or stolen
The policy must also outline roles and information access to ensure confidential information is not accessed by those who lack the credentials to have that information.
Fortunately, there’s software available that can streamline this process, including mobile device management (MDM) applications. MDM is a great first step for companies that haven’t yet embraced BYOD but are ready to make it a priority in the new year.
If you’re ready to start putting the pieces in place to support a solid BYOD launch in your environment, contact BlackPoint IT Services. Our extensive experience in this and all things business communications can help you ensure your plan and deployment meet your needs today and in the future.