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The way we work has dramatically changed over the last decade or so. With seamless connectivity and ever-increasing digitalisation, remote and hybrid work are redefining the very notion of a workplace. To adapt to the changing times, businesses have been rolling out Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.
This complete guide to BYOD will explain the concept, its advantages and disadvantages and share an advanced solution that will give you all the benefits of BYOD without any of its risks.
What is BYOD?
How did BYOD become popular?
Using a personal phone for work vs. using a business phone – Pros and cons
Who uses a personal phone for work?
Why you should avoid using your personal phone number for work
Types of workplace mobile phone policies
How to safely allow employees to use personal mobile phones for work calls
Does an employer have to reimburse mobile phone expenses?
How to implement a BYOD policy
Adding a business phone number to your personal mobile phone
Ready to add a virtual business line to your personal phone?
BYOD stands for "Bring Your Own Device," a policy that allows employees to bring their own personal mobile devices (such as smartphones or tablets) to work and use them to access the company's network and data. BYOD has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the proliferation of mobile devices and the increased access to corporate data that they provide.
The concept of BYOD first emerged in 2009 when Cisco coined the term to describe the trend of employees bringing their own personal devices to the workplace. Since then, the idea has exploded in popularity due to the rise of mobile technology and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets.
As companies become increasingly aware of the cost savings and productivity benefits associated with BYOD, the practice has become a core component of a business’s IT strategy.
BYOD is meant to improve employee productivity, reduce costs and give employees more control over their individual work environments. It can provide employees with the convenience of using a device that they are already familiar with and can save the company the cost of purchasing and maintaining devices for its employees. However, it can also present challenges for the company in terms of security and data management.
Before getting to the need for a work phone and personal phone, let’s first analyse how BYOD become popular. Companies across sectors are now instituting BYOD policies for the following reasons.
Affordability: Personal laptops weren’t common even 15 years ago. The reason they have become popular is that these devices have become affordable.
Size: A home computer used to mean a chunky old device. With laptops, you can easily take your personal computer anywhere.
Savings: If an employee has the option of using a personal phone for work, the employer doesn’t have to buy work devices for them.
Autonomy: Theoretically, BYOD empowers employees by giving them the flexibility to work on devices they’re comfortable with.
Should your employees use a work phone and a personal phone? Or should using a personal phone for work be the norm? These pros and cons will help us understand it better.
Getting a work phone means that along with the hardware, you also have to pay for its software and the device’s maintenance. Since employees are more than likely to already have personal phones, the business doesn’t have to purchase a separate device for work.
Being able to use one device for both personal and business calls, messages and emails can be more convenient than having to juggle two devices. Moreover, employees are already familiar with their devices, software and applications.
If you’re regularly out of the office meeting with clients or attending events, having your work and personal phone in one device can be more convenient than carrying two phones around. Remember that more devices can also mean two chargers.
If you use the same device for personal and work activities, it can be difficult to keep them separate. There is a potential risk that confidential client data or business information could be exposed if the device is lost or stolen.
Using a personal phone makes it difficult to control which apps and services your staff members have access to. This could lead to security or compliance risks.
Using a personal phone for work can lead to distractions such as social media notifications or games getting in the way of productivity. It can also be difficult to monitor each employee’s device separately.
A business phone gives a professional image to customers and associates. Just like a website, email address or social media page, it connotes credibility, which will make it easier for potential customers to trust you.
A business phone provides a dedicated phone number for your business, meaning customers can always reach you. That number will be free from personal calls and messages, which will also make it easier to separate work and personal lives.
A business phone can help improve customer service with features such as caller ID, automated call routing, auto-reply and call forwarding. All these will collectively improve your customer interactions.
Business phones can help streamline communication processes and improve efficiency. This is extremely crucial for remote and flexible teams since seamless access to company data and systems is a challenge for distributed workplaces.
It’s true that businesses will have to buy additional devices if employees have to use a work phone and a personal phone. But organisations may be able to get cheaper service plans if those are bought in bulk.
Business phones can be expensive to acquire and maintain. Other than the initial cost for additional devices, businesses will also have to manage their maintenance and pay for the necessary software and routine upgrades.
A potential problem with business phones is that they may not be as user-friendly as other types of phones and might require additional training to use.
Some business phones may not have the latest technology or features offered by other types of phones targeted at regular consumers.
Businesses may have greater freedom to monitor business phones issued by them. From an employee’s perspective, this might compromise their digital privacy.
Instead of letting an employee use a separate work phone and a personal phone, why are businesses comfortable with their staff using a personal phone for work? Because BYOD has certain undeniable advantages.
Allowing employees to use their own devices (and technology) for work can lead to increased productivity, as employees already know how to use and are comfortable with their devices. This means that the user can work more quickly and efficiently.
Companies can save money on purchasing and maintaining new devices, as well as on energy costs associated with powering and cooling computers and other devices. Allowing employees to bring their own devices also means that the company does not have to purchase additional hardware or software licenses.
When given the right tools, employees are often more engaged and productive at work. By bringing their own devices, employees can access tools and applications that they know will help them get their job done faster or better. These might be programmes that have helped them in the past and therefore, they believe, will be helpful in the future.
Greater employee satisfaction
Most people are attached to their smartphones, laptops and other devices which they use on a daily basis. Using the same devices for work can make the employee feel more valued and appreciated. They may also feel less disassociated at work because they will be working on their preferred devices.
Businesses that have never taken digital security seriously will have to rethink their policies and systems and invest in their security architecture with BYOD. These policies require companies to implement security measures and tighten their cybersecurity.
Using a personal phone for work also comes with certain drawbacks that both employees and businesses should be aware of.
Companies may need to invest in extra infrastructure and plan for added costs in order to support a BYOD programme. They may also need to hire more people in their IT department to monitor how employees access and use their systems.
Security is always a concern with BYOD, as employers may only have limited control over what employees install or access on their own devices. Keep in mind that family members including children may use those devices containing company data.
Different devices may not be compatible with the company's network and software, making collaboration more difficult. This is especially true if your organisation uses specific enterprise software or programmes.
Employees may be uncomfortable with the idea of their employer having access to their personal devices, raising privacy concerns. Few would welcome their managers or supervisors having the authority to go through their devices.
Setting policies and ensuring that all employees adhere to them can be difficult and time-consuming for employers. If you have never rolled out such a BYOD policy, you will have to codify its rules and regulations.
Many professionals use their personal phones for work-related tasks, including salespeople, small business owners, customer service/support teams, couriers, drivers and remote employees. Personal phones are often used to make and receive calls, send emails and messages to colleagues, manage customer relationships and access work files.
People are still using personal phones for work despite knowing the privacy concerns because:
They have been doing it since they started and it’s now part of their routine.
They believe that their smaller operations don’t require a dedicated line for work.
They feel that an additional number would be expensive to buy and maintain.
Those who spend a lot of time on the road don’t want to carry an additional device.
Most of these concerns can be addressed by getting a virtual number. There’s no need to get an additional device, which means even drivers, couriers and salespeople don’t have to worry about carrying another phone. A virtual number also is cost-effective, feature-rich and has business tools conducive to remote work.
These are the reasons why using a personal phone for work is a bad idea.
Your personal phone number should be used for personal communication only and not for work-related issues, as it may result in many unknown people having access to your number. This is particularly troublesome for freelancers and small business owners without additional employees since you will have to share your number everywhere.
It can be difficult to separate your work and personal life when using the same phone number for both, leading to poor time management and potentially overworking yourself. You will be expected to attend all calls and messages coming to that number, which will destroy your work-life balance.
You may face added charges depending on your carrier if you are using your personal phone for work purposes, such as making long-distance calls or sending text messages for work. If you’re an entrepreneur, this is another reason to get a virtual number for work since the call charges are low, especially for long-distance or international calls.
Using your personal phone for work-related activities may put you at risk of exposing sensitive information or materials that you wouldn’t want others to have access to. Plus, you may end up being liable for any such loss of company data.
These are the common mobile phone policies that businesses implement:
The policy of allowing employees to use their own personal devices (such as smartphones, laptops and tablets) for work purposes. This is becoming increasingly popular in the workplace as it allows employees to use devices they are familiar with while reducing hardware and software costs for the employer.
CYOD or Choose Your Own Device is a variation of BYOD, which allows employees to use their own devices in the workplace. However, CYOD provides a selection of pre-approved and supported devices for employees to choose from, as opposed to allowing any device. This allows employers to maintain control over the devices being used on the network.
COPE (Company-Owned, Personally-Enabled) is a type of corporate-owned mobile device policy that allows employees to use their own devices for work without having to carry multiple devices or worry about threats to the company’s security. The company is able to enforce policies and updates remotely and keep track of employee usage.
A COBO (Company-Owned, Business-Only) enterprise mobility program is one in which an organisation provides its employees with mobile devices that can be used only for business purposes. Devices in a COBO program are monitored by the organisation and employees are prohibited from accessing apps or websites for personal use.
BYOD has been fuelled by consumer demand for more flexible work environments and the cost savings that come with allowing employees to bring their own devices to work. These steps will ensure that there are no safety concerns when using a personal phone for work.
Set clear rules: Establish clear rules for the appropriate and inappropriate use of personal mobile phones for work calls. These should include information about security, privacy and acceptable activity on the phone.
Educate employees: Make sure all employees including remote team members understand the rules by providing training and education about security and privacy measures.
Use encrypted connections: Use encryption to protect data sent over personal mobile phones for work calls. This is a way of encrypting data in transit so that even if someone intercepts the signal, the data remains unreadable.
Implement remote access control: Implement remote access control measures to ensure only authorised users can access company data or systems while using a personal phone for work.
Conduct regular security reviews: Regularly review security settings on all personal mobile phones used for work to ensure they are up-to-date and secure.
Monitor usage: Monitor usage of personal phones used for work to ensure they are not being used inappropriately or for activities outside of company policies.
In the US, under federal law, employers are not required to reimburse their employees for mobile phone expenses. But some states have laws that require businesses to reimburse their employees for the cost of using an employee’s personal mobile phone for business purposes.
In the UK, employees can claim costs incurred for business calls as an expense. Find the details on what is exempt from tax and what has to be reported by the employer.
Implementing BYOD can be a great way for businesses to save time and money on purchasing devices, while still maintaining security. Here are some tips on how to implement it properly.
You don’t have to worry about carrying a work phone and a personal phone. You also don’t have to worry about the problems around using a personal phone for work. You can get all the benefits of BYOD without any of its disadvantages through a smarter solution: add a business phone number from a virtual number provider to your personal mobile phone.
Here’s how you will benefit from adding a virtual number to your personal phone.
You can just download the app and get your new business number. Your business doesn’t have to spend on another device. Users don’t have to carry around two phones and worry about their safety.
Although it’s the same device, all your work communication will be separated from your personal communication. You can easily organise contacts and their messages and you can prioritise appropriately. This also improves the work-life balance of employees.
You will save money on devices, maintenance and call charges. Most VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers have lower charges when compared to legacy operators. This is particularly true for long-distance calls.
Virtual numbers work over the internet and therefore, can be used on any device. So, now you have a dedicated number for work that you can operate from your phone, laptop or tablet.
A virtual number can be operated from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. This makes it the most viable solution for remote and hybrid teams.
Why settle for an ordinary number when you can get an advanced communication system with tools to grow your business? A virtual number would give you features such as auto-reply, broadcast SMS, analytics, call forwarding, voicemail and call queuing to improve your marketing and customer service.
Want to make BYOD truly effective? Download Chalkboard, a virtual number designed specifically for small businesses, freelancers and working professionals. With Chalkboard, you get an affordable second line for work that can be your dedicated number for business calls and messages.
You can organise your contacts into lists to send quick updates. With contact cards, your business can now build its own customer database. You can set working hours and use voicemail and auto-reply to engage with calls outside those hours.
Download Chalkboard and try it now. More than a phone, it will be your new marketing and customer service system.
This is how you can implement an effective BYOD policy that benefits both your small business and its employees