As their technology at home becomes as good – even better – than their technology at work, you may find that your employees do more and more work-related tasks on their personal devices.
It’s been called BYOD – “bring your own device” – and it’s got some pluses and minuses for small business owners. If BYOD is becoming an issue at your workplace or you’d like to make it an option, here are some pros and cons to consider.
Latest and greatest: Let’s face it: Technology is expensive, and your business can’t afford to upgrade every time something new comes along. That means the computers and mobile devices your employees use at work may be a generation (or more) older than the newest and coolest. Not so at home: Personal users are more likely to spend the money to upgrade when something new comes out. Let your employees BYOD, and suddenly your company has access to the latest and greatest technology out there.
Productivity: There’s no training when an employee uses his or her own device for work. They already know how to use it – and use it well. Plus, if they’re using their personal laptop or mobile device for work, it’s easier for them to work from home if necessary.
Satisfaction: Your employees have chosen their devices for a reason – they like the features, they’re brand loyal, it fits their lifestyle, etc. The devices you choose for them to use at the office may not be the ones they would choose for themselves.
Shifting Costs: Let your employees BYOD, and certain costs like mobile devices and voice and data service shift from the company to the employee. You’d think employees would mind this, but the truth is, research has shown most don’t seem to mind.
Simplicity: Do you want to juggle a work cellphone and a personal cellphone? A work laptop and a home laptop? You’re always saddled with two devices. Allowing employees to BYOD simplifies their lives – they carry fewer devices.
Security: This is a big one. Allowing your staff to BYOD means their personal devices have access to your business network and company data, and that could be a security risk. An employee could lose their personal device – and all of the company data that is on it. When you issue company-chosen technology, you can control how it is used and maintain and update security software; not so if you’re letting workers bring laptops from home.
One solution to this is to have a clearly defined policy for personal devices used at work, outlining minimum security requirements or mandating that their device use company-issued security tools.
Incompatibility: When your company chooses technology for employees to use, you know that everything can play well together and your IT department or IT contractor is familiar with the technology, how it works, and how to troubleshoot it. Allow BYOD, and suddenly you have as many different kinds of devices as you have employees. Will these devices be able to talk to each other? Will they be able to work with your business’ computer network? Do they have the right software installed?
Ownership: If employees are using their own devices, you could run into ownership issues. Can you tell a user what they can and cannot do on their own device? When someone leaves the company, how do you ensure company data is removed from the device? If you opt to allow BYOD, a clear policy should define how company data is retrieved from the device when someone separates from your company.
Considering BYOD? Wondering how to get your employees’ devices to talk to one another? Call PNSolutions – we can help!