By Elizabeth A. Anderson, Jumpstart:HR
Joey’s Take (MP3):
Practically everyone these days has a cell phone and an active Facebook account. This is a given in the year 2013. We are a technologically savvy people and we not only care about the latest devices on the market, but we go out in masses to purchase and own them. Since everyone already has smart phones, tablets, and laptops, it only makes sense to transition personal usage into using these devices for professional reasons. Wouldn’t you agree? It is this personal-device-in-the-workplace usage that has employers scratching their heads on what to do about it…with good reason. The 2013 Business & Legal Resources HR Policies Survey identified BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as the 2nd most problematic HR issue of our time. So the question that needs to be asked is: should companies adopt a BYOD policy? Here are some of the pros and cons along with helpful advice on this workforce trend.
WHAT IS BYOD?
BYOD stands for “Bring Your Own Device”. This occurs in the workplace when employees who already own personal devices (such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, PDAs, etc.) decide to use them to do their jobs. The process of using company data and information systems, as well as connecting to corporate networks via personal electronic equipment, is what is causing concern for employers. This issue is quickly gaining momentum as more and more people own these devices, seeing the relevance in using them for work-related functions. In 2011, the percentage of U.S. adults who owned mobile devices was 8% for tablets and 35% for smartphones. Compare that to the data seen in 2013, with the percentage increased to 34% for tablets and 56% for smartphones. Bringing your own device to work seems to have its place and benefits for employees.
PROS AND CONS
The benefits of a company creating their own BYOD policy are:
Employee availability drastically increases as they can be reached anywhere, at any time.
Businesses ultimately save on employee-related costs since these are devices already in ownership by the employee.
Usage of emerging technology produces a higher morale than those unable to benefit from this convenient way to conduct business.
Employers see improved productivity from their employees.
The cons, however, are:
Associated legal risks such as wages and hours being called into question and the growing concern in how to govern laws regarding company data privacy.
IT related issues fall in the joining of personal data with that of the organization, along with the potential for malicious software attacks and the complicated nature in providing IT support across multiple platforms.
In considering the advantages and disadvantages, employers need to think about the issues involved in implementing a BYOD policy. In order to start letting employees bring their own devices into work, the company needs to create a clearly outlined policy. This is to ensure that there is network security in place. Detailed security requirements should include the following:
Configuration of passwords
Restriction of specific app downloads by employees
Requirements of data to be encrypted
Limit of employee activity
IT audits to ensure employee personal devices are in compliance with company policy
The most important thing to know is that this BYOD trend appears to be staying, so if you’re an employer or business owner and you’re thinking of being on-trend with this quickly growing aspect to workplace culture, then establish a company policy to ensure that your organization’s privacy stays private and that technology advancement stays in the realm of beneficial, not detrimental.
If you need help with your policy, Jumpstart:HR can help.