In today’s world of smartphones, tablets and laptops, forward-thinking companies now have the option of implementing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy in the office. After all, if employees already have the technology for personal use, why should your company pay for more?
Allowing employees to use their own devices for both business and personal matters can be an effective strategy for reducing costs and boosting productivity—but there are also concerns to consider, mainly regarding support and security. Here are some of the major pros and cons of implementing a bring your own device policy.
Pros of a BYOD Policy
There are many benefits to introducing a BYOD policy in the office. For starters, there’s the issue of cost. Companies can dole out veritable fortunes providing devices for their employees. Especially for small or medium-sized companies, this can really eat into the bottom line. By allowing employees to use their own devices, businesses can save money.
Another reason to consider a BYOD policy is employee satisfaction. It’s simply easier for your employees to manage a single device for both business and personal use. Furthermore, employees can use the technologies they are most comfortable with. Instead of wasting time (and energy) learning new operating systems, employees can work with the technology they use at home. This can save your company resources down the line.
Finally, BYOD policies can lead to a greater sense of responsibility. When employees aren’t paying for the device (or know it will be replaced), it can be easy to misplace or misuse. But like anyone who has ever lost their smartphone knows, when it’s your own property, the result is devastating. By using their own devices, employees are encouraged to take better care of the equipment.
Cons of a BYOD Policy
While BYOD policies certainly benefit a workplace, there are several issues to consider. The biggest concerns for many companies relate to security and confidentiality. While it’s easy to regulate the use of company property, there’s a greater challenge in telling employees what they can—or cannot—do on their personal devices. It’s important to create a policy that clearly addresses how you will protect confidential information.
There’s also the concern of what happens when an employee leaves the company. When you aren’t able to confiscate devices, how do you make sure all confidential material has been removed? Again, the key to handling this situation is having a policy that spells out exactly how you will erase this confidential information when an employee exits. You’ll also want to have a solid, non-compete agreement in place for employees who are using their personal phone numbers for client work.
Finally, there’s the issue of IT support. When employees use their own devices, it can get tricky for your IT department to provide adequate support. You may also run into compatibility issues with new software and have some trouble maintaining up-to-date systems. Once again, having policies in place to assist with these issues are paramount. Make sure your IT department is up to the challenge, or consider outsourcing additional IT work to trustworthy consultants.
Ultimately, a bring your own device policy can be a huge asset for some companies, but not ideal for others. You’ll know if this policy might work for your organization by weighing the pros and cons before implementing.