Technology is an integral tool in today’s workforce for communication and collaboration. In a traditional work setting, employees are working onsite using equipment provided by the company. In recent years, however, more businesses are letting their employees bring and use their own devices, such as laptops or mobile phones, to work. Known as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, this trend has been growing for years due to various reasons.
Many organizations are adopting BYOD policy to cut costs of purchasing devices. Workers can use the devices they already own and the company only needs to offer some mobile reimbursement in exchange. Ensuring employee’s satisfaction is another reason behind BYOD policy. Employees typically have personal and specific preferences when it comes to gadgets. Not to mention, devices offered by the company are often outdated so employees often prefer using their own. So allowing employees to use their preferred devices can make them happier and more efficient when working.
As more organizations are sending their employees to work from home at the height of the pandemic, BYOD policy has become a common occurrence. Needless to say, there are two sides of the same coin. While BYOD policy can reduce costs and improve efficiency, it also comes with legal risks and data breaches. Here are some pros and cons of BYOD policy.
Instead of having your IT department to keep up with latest updates, such as OS upgrades and 5G technologies, your employees are doing it for you. This will eliminate the need to train new hires in using company’s devices, saving both money and time. Even if you compensate for certain expenses on personal devices, this will be a lot more inexpensive than spending on hardware, software licensing, or device maintenance.
People are attached to their devices. Accustomed to using their personal devices, employees know how to utilize them according to their preferences. This leads to increased efficiency and a more productive workplace. No need to worry about the blurring space between work and personal. The newest update from Google offers a feature to separate profiles, which will be a great use for employees who want to set a clear boundary for their private life within one desktop.
One major disadvantage of BYOD policy is the risk of data security breach. Irresponsible employees can utilize their devices to steal, distribute, or misuse organization’s confidential information. They may also have work-related data on their smartphone that they accidentally expose while using public WiFi systems. When employees are not careful, their personal devices can cause malware, hackers, and other threats to infiltrate the company’s systems. Depending on the type of information detected on an employee’s device and how private and safe that information is to be maintained, there may even be legal problems to consider. Some employees may perceive the attempt to protect their device at work as an invasion of privacy. They may object to their employer’s request to use specific applications or surveillance methods due to the concern about being monitored by employers.
Software and hardware incompatibility is a problem that may arise from BYOD policy. Employee devices may run different operating systems from the company’s and be in various states of updating. There is no assurance that these different technologies support what employees need to complete or that the employee experience is consistent. The changes between the “identical” Windows and Apple iOS, for example, can be considerable. What works on Windows OS may not work in Apple iOS devices and vice versa. It is indeed possible that the effort required to get this ad hoc system of devices to work together may end up costing your IT department even more in the long run.
Before implementing BYOD policy, leaders need to acknowledge both the advantages and disadvantages of it. Managers also need to calculate the compensation or reimbursement for employees’ devices that will be used for work. To avoid incompatibilities of devices, provide recommended gadgets that are compatible with the company’s systems. You may also need to specify which operating system versions are required as well as explicitly explain about the security requirements. This might include password locks, frequent password changes, and limits on using public WiFi with any device that is used for work. Before allowing employees to connect to devices, ensure that your network, data, and IT department are ready and safe.