Just a few years back, the idea that employees could/should provide their own devices in the workplace was preposterous. But these days, the devices are so portable, powerful and readily available that at least considering putting a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in place, is worthy of consideration. So whether you’re thinking about adding corporate email to personal smartphones, connecting laptops or really leaving it all up to your employees’ preferences, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the key issues, benefits and concerns.
Money – It’s no secret that buying phones and other devices is a pricey undertaking. If employees just bring theirs, it means a pirate’s booty in savings (well, it is).
Simplicity: Same device for everything. Same phone, same laptop. There. Done. We still see sales folks at the airport toggling between their work cell and personal. Ridiculous.
Preferences: Dave loves open source while Molly’s an Apple fan. Maybe you’ve got Dave on a MacBook after years of “Microsofting” and its slowing him down? Learning curves be damned with a solid, pro-BYOD policy. Everybody comes trained!
Ownership: Lose the company laptop. Get a finger pointing. Get another device. That’s usually how it goes down. Lose your own, you’re in the store the next day. Right? This works to the Company’s advantage on price as employees are particularly attached to all their personal items stored on their devices.
IT support: If everybody is on the same network with same-brand devices, it’s no sweat for the IT fix-it crew. If they’re all different, it can mean big problems. What about software compatibility?
Security: This is generally the biggest concern, and it is a valid one (though, not impossible to manage). What type of data does your shop handle? Keeping an employee’s 8-year-old off of YouTube when the laptop comes home is sometimes easier imagined than executed, for both the company and the parent.
Post-termination/departure: In both instances, there will have to be pre-determined protocols during off-boarding, which, in many cases can be difficult to enforce. Imagine Molly is in sales and all your contacts dial her directly? At any rate, if you deal with a lot of confidential information, this can be truly unnavigable territory.
With this many pros and cons, such BYOD policies can be complicated. Think about what your employees want, what is sustainable for your organization and then, if you need further assistance, call your friends at HRWS. We’re good at this stuff.
*Be advised that the information contained in this article is intended for educational purposes and to provide a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice.