I want to use my smartphone at the office but would my boss allow that? This is a common question for employees across the globe. If you are considering whether to allow your employees to use their own devices or not, this article is meant for you. Presuming that you are in the business for a considerable amount of time as an entrepreneur or HR, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy is something you’ve googled more than once. Here, I will express my views on why you should actually allow your employees to use their own devices at work with adequate precautions in mind.

Dive in deeper to explore the pros and cons of doing so.

Why Should Both Employees And Employers Share Infrastructure

A few decades ago, one was forced to work at their company premises and use only the infrastructure available there. In the below-given image, you can figure out why:

(source: SlideShare)

The computers were too bulky for transportation and therefore, staff had no other choice but to work with these systems at the company location only. With the advances in technology, computers evolved to today’s size and power, thanks to consumerization. Your employees use their smartphones, tablets, and laptops round the clock and they may find it difficult to switch between personal and office devices. Also, the differences in OS can make things pretty messy at times.

If you allow them to use their own gadgets, you can save a handsome amount of money spent on infrastructure. Also, the maintenance costs and training costs will get slashed as the staff members already know how to use them. Therefore, both employees and employers find collaborating beneficial for this purpose. Work from home policy is another reason to go with it.

Advantages Of Allowing Personal Devices

Enforcing policies like BYOD, BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), BYOA (Bring Your Own Application), and CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) have benefits at multiple levels. BYOE (Bring Your Own Encryption) is also an emerging trend these days. Some of them are enlisted below:

Your staff will become more productive

When you permit the use of personal devices at work, it will increase productivity levels. This claim is backed by a survey which states that 49% of the respondents agreed to this improving their productive output. They can work on the same devices for both office work and private use which increases the speed of working as both software and hardware are similar. Compounded proficiency and continuous engagement will definitely increase your staff’s productivity.

They can work from home or while travelling

In the metropolitan regions, commuting for long hours is a common issue. Owing to it, many organizations are looking forward to work from home policy. Also, they provide certain relaxations in office hours. Under such circumstances, their workforce can gain a significant advantage by using their gadgets while travelling or at home. Hence, they don’t need to waste their time in commuting and keep the office hours shorter with compromising workloads.

  • Fact Time: You can save a whopping 81 minutes per week by working on personal devices which translates to saving in the ballpark of 1,774 to 3,217 dollars annually. (Forbes)

As an organization, you get access to a larger talent pool

Have you ever faced a situation where you met an amazing professional with whom you couldn’t collaborate due to location restraints? Well, we can solve this problem easily with the help of cloud computing. This includes all enterprise solutions including payroll software and even CRM modules which can be accessed through web browsers. So, you can work with a larger talent pool without restricting your outreach due to geographical/financial constraints.

This also improves work-life balance

Ability to work and morale to work are two different things. Like many of us, I too find inspiring ideas at random times and places. If I want to write them down or explore these ideas, the most probable thing I’ll do is to use my smartphone. Most people face this situation many times a week throughout their career. On the other hand, on an odd day, I don't like to work at all. The freedom to work according to my mind rhythm is something BYOD does exceptionally well even outside work premises. 

Timely upgrading of tools with minimum involvement.

Does your company have a dedicated IT cell to look after the computers and software? Perhaps, if the employees own the devices, you need not employ such departments. Moreover, they will also update the software and hardware as per the need. This results in quick adoption of the latest tools and technologies with negligible involvement from your end.

Market Statistics: 89.3% of Android users have Lollipop (5.0) or above OS version in their smartphones. 

What Are The Areas That Concern Employers

Security, Privacy, and Legality are the top three areas where employers need to behave vigilantly. As your staff members access information related to human resources, company processes and other privileged data, threats arise on multiple levels. For instance, accessing HR data across borders will require one to obey international treaties. Customer database and transactional information are another set of sensitive data. 

It is therefore advised to take precautionary measures before going ahead with the policy of allowing personal devices.

Create A Clear BYOD Policy

Creating a compelling BYOD policy to save your firm from any unexpected mishaps no matter intentional or accidental. Reimbursement and allowances will form the two major areas for the employee side. On the contrary, security and surveillance will attract the attention of companies. You can define the boundaries between official and personal use by tracking enterprise-related applications. 

With mutual agreement, you can monitor activity and also decide the illegitimate activities. I find that enabling multi-factor authentication and installing anti-virus solutions is imperative to security. It is because installing apps and accessing particular websites makes us vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data piracy. Therefore, curating a mutually acceptable policy on the matter is a must for any organization irrespective of size/sector.

The Final Word

Personalization and consumerization are two biggest reflections of a concurrent progressive economy. Wider access to the latest technologies is an unprecedented event for the general population and businesses shall surely tap this golden opportunity. Allowing personal devices at work enables you to diversify talent, cut infrastructure costs, and improve your brand as an employer; so go for it to explore higher engagement rates.

Author Bio

Divyang Metaliya is a Business Consultant at FactoHR, an India based HR and Payroll solution provider. He is a creative business strategist with more than 8 years of experience.