BYOD (bring your own device) is becoming more and more popular in business. Is this new workplace trend right for your organization? When staff bring their own devices to work there are associated risks, and you will need to implement a BYOD policy to make sure those risks are kept to a minimum. If you’re thinking of switching to BYOD in your workplace, here are some things you should consider first.
There’s one big bonus to a BYOD culture. In general, staff like it. Many employees prefer working on devices that they are familiar with. It also facilitates remote working. This can all add up to increased productivity, which is good for profits. Businesses also make savings by not having to pay for the devices their employees use. It all seems like a win-win situation, but there are disadvantages to think about too.
Various new scenarios arise in the BYOD environment, so you’ll need to develop policies to deal with them. A major consideration is: what happens when a device stops working while the staff member is using it at work? Who pays to repair and service the device in this situation? Another question arises around software. What software should be used? What happens if an employee’s device doesn’t support that software?
These questions should be considered before a BYOD environment is initiated. One way to deal with it is to create a committee with representatives of both management and the workforce, to create a workable, fair BYOD policy that is acceptable to all interested parties.
Although employers will save money in some areas, there may be additional expenses in others. For example, telecommunication plans are cheaper when bought under your company name. The usual practice with BYOD is that employees pay individually for personal communication plans but are then reimbursed by the company. This can be substantially more expensive than a plan which covers a number of devices in an office.
When an employee uses his or her own device to connect to the company network, the network administrator now has access to and some control over those devices. Employers can track the online activities of their employees on devices that are owned by the employee. They can potentially collect personal information, view pictures, and more. This raises ethical issues and there can be legal implications too. When staff are aware of the potential threat to their privacy, it may put them off the whole idea of BYOD.
Some studies have shown that over eighty percent of employees are already concerned that their employers monitor their workplace internet usage. Nobody wants their bosses checking on them when they aren’t even on duty. The blurred lines of BYOD and implications for privacy can also be off-putting for employers.
If just the thought of possible legal battles and liabilities horrifies you, then maybe a BYOD environment isn’t the right direction for your business to go. If you’re still keen on the concept, then there are ways you can protect yourself. A solid set of policies to accompany your BYOD plan should cover most eventualities, and can be drawn up with the help of your attorney to safeguard yourself from legal liability.
BYOD will probably throw up some problems and situations that you’ll have to work through. Technology often creates situations that are new and unanticipated. As well as consulting with staff to find out what is unacceptable to them, it’s a good idea to talk to other businesses to see how a BYOD policy has worked for them.