Along with new technologies and their adoptions in the business world, sometimes, routine practices also end up having enormous significance. One such trend is BYOD or ‘bring your own device’ that’s becoming popular. What exactly is BYOD and what does it mean for organisations, especially when they work remotely?
While certain practices in the corporate world are a result of years of behavioural change, BYOD’s fast-paced adoption has been necessitated by the larger changes in how we work and communicate. Before analysing its importance for how organisations function, let’s first understand the concept.
BYOD is the practice of employees using their personal devices for work. It’s when employees use their devices to connect to the company’s systems and networks. These devices include computers, laptops, smartphones or USB drives.
The trend of BYOD has become popular over the past 18 months as more and more employees have been working remotely or on the go. Without access to the hardware in their offices, employees have been using their personal devices to connect to company networks.
Some organisations support BYOD whereas others are worried about the use of what is referred to as “shadow IT.” This relates to hardware or software not officially endorsed by the company’s IT department. Some companies worry that the use of shadow IT poses risk to confidential or sensitive data within their networks.
BYOD has to be seen as against the larger trend of providing autonomy to employees to use their preferred personal devices for work. Under the gambit of BYOT or bring your technology, there was BYOP or bring your phone, and now we have BYOD.
Companies are endorsing BYOD because it delivers demonstrable benefits to both organisations and their employees.
Employees are more at ease when they use their personal devices for work. Since those are the devices that they regularly use, they would be more comfortable with the hardware, its speed, shortcuts etc. This would add speed to their work and increase productivity.
Employee happiness or comfort is directly related to productivity. Since workers will be more comfortable using their devices, it can be safely assumed that their improved mental state will contribute to productivity.
Companies won’t have to unnecessarily buy hardware for their employees under BYOD. This will result in significant cost savings not just for large companies but even small businesses. It will also reduce the maintenance and support costs for hardware.
This is part of a larger trend where savvy businesses are reducing the need for additional devices. One of the things to know about second phone number apps, for example, is that there is no need to buy a new device for a new number. Businesses are also looking at cost-effective alternatives to Google Voice for their call management.
Allowing employees to use their personal devices is one of the most effective ways to deliver autonomy to your workforce. BYOD signals trust and that’s a significant factor in employee engagement.
That will lead to employee retention as people are more likely to remain with companies that explicitly trust them and give them the necessary freedom to work. A higher retention rate means lower acquisition and training costs. It also removes the need for continuous onboarding.
Any new technological trend will have its pros and cons that business owners should be aware of and BYOD is no exception.
As seen above, it boosts productivity and engagement with increased cost efficiencies. But BYOD also gets rid of the need to constantly maintain the hardware which frees up employees to focus on their core tasks. That leads to innovation.
By removing the bottlenecks on employees using their personal devices, organisations will also be empowering employees to work from anywhere. That increased flexibility is good news in a remote world where people are seeking a better work-life balance.
BYOD can increase the distractions that an employee will have to deal with. These could be everything from personal emails to social media feeds and messaging platforms. This might take away their focus and decrease productivity.
Companies are also worried about their digital security as personal devices may not have the same security architecture as those provided by the organisation.
Before instituting BYOD, companies should conduct a cost-benefit analysis. This will reveal loopholes around device security and lead to access protocols. Companies can also create tiered access for employees who use their personal devices and roll out specific rules for remote working.
BYOD is becoming the norm across many industries. While it’s an empowering idea, businesses should have the necessary policies in place in order to ensure a smooth rollout.
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