BYOD: Four big benefits
- Most companies have some kind of program allowing employees to use their personal mobile devices for work, and…
- More than a third of the mobile devices in today’s workplaces are employees’ personal devices.
They point to four reasons why BYOD — that’s short for “Bring Your Own Device” — boost productivity. If your organization already has a BYOD program, you’ve prObably already internalized these, and if not, you may want to think about them:
- BYOD gives employees the freedom to choose where and how they work. This sort of freedom is so valuable to a significant number of people; 20% of respondents to a Flexjobs survey of 1,500 people looking for work showed that they’d take a pay cut for flexible work options.
- BYOD instills a greater sense of ownership. Letting people use personal devices helps them extend that sense of ownership to their work. The end result is often motivated, engaged employees who “go the extra mile”.
- BYOD is a way to attract and retain creative talent. Allowing the use of personal devices is a signal to employees that you trust their judgement on a number of dimensions: their personal choice of technology, their preferred way to work, and to work outside the constraints of the office. It says “we don’t think of you as a corporate drone, but as an intelligent, capable human being,” which is a powerful statement in a world that seems to be increasingly commoditized.
- BYOD can reduce your operating expenses. A well-crafted BYOD plan can cut the cost of purchasing, managing, and maintaining a fleet of mobile devices, and reduce your IT team’s workload.
The trick is to make sure that you’ve thought out your organization’s approach to BYOD. A key part of this process is coming up with a set of policies on appropriate use of BYOD devices for work, and educating your users about these policies and how to use their personal mobile devices effectively and securely.
FYOD: Fix your own device! (or: Supporting increasingly self-reliant users)
FierceCIO points to a recent study that features two seemingly contradictory observations about employees and their relationship with their companies’ IT departments:
- They’re generally satisfied with their companies’ IT departments and the service they’re getting from them.
- They’re also more self-reliant than ever and are willing to take care of their own IT issues, despite the fact that IT departments of all sizes are quick to respond to requests for help.
In fact, going to IT for help with a technical issue isn’t the first thing most employees with tech troubles do. The vast majority prefer to take matters into their own hands:
The practical lesson that you should take from this data is that if you want happy, productive people with a minimum of downtime from tech issues, you should provide them with IT resources that enable them to help themselves, especially for issues that can be handled without IT department intervention. Simple “how-to” guides for common tech problems posted on an internal company site — perhaps even contributed to and edited by your employees themselves, and edited and enhanced by your IT department — are often all you need to help maximize uptime and free your IT team to work on the issues that can’t be dealt with by end users.
SYOD: Smuggle Your Own Device
The downside of the growing tendency towards IT self-reliance is something that we like to call “SYOD”, short for “smuggle your own device”. That’s when employees use personal devices for work, accessing corporate online resources without the knowledge or approval of IT departments. Ernst and Young have pointed out that SYOD often arises in the absence of any BYOD program, and in 2013, research firm Ovum reported that:
- Nearly 70% of employees who own a smartphone or tablet use it to access corporate data.
- Of those employees:
- A little more than 15% access that data without the IT department’s knowledge.
- Almost 21% access that data in defiance of an anti-BYOD policy.
If SYOD is happening at your organization, it means that there are needs that aren’t being met, and that people are being self-reliant, actively helping themselves and looking for solutions. This as an opportunity to help them, and perhaps even to recast IT as an enabler rather than a barrier.