The bring-your-own-device or BYOD has been a growing trend among companies in recent years. BYOD means exactly that: employees can use their personal smart phones, laptops, tablets and other devices for work. The obvious advantage to this practice is companies can lower costs by not having to procure hardware. Employees meanwhile would presumably be happier with using their own gadgets, paving for a more mobile work setup and better work-life integration.
Problems have since cropped up with BYOD though. One of the biggest issues is security; sensitive data may be in greater danger of being compromised if stored in a personal device rather than in a company-controlled hardware. Some firms have also ended up with higher expenses after widespread worker abuse such as charging personal usage to the company tab. Employees also became wary that permitting company access to their devices may encroach on their privacy rights and put their personal data at risk.
Underneath the thorny matters of security and expenses are issues of trust and the state of employer-employee relations. Can employers trust their staff not to take advantage of company resources or leak confidential data for their own gain? Can employees trust their company not to short-change them or invade their privacy in the course of protecting work data? A good employer-employee relation, of course, is crucial in company operations in general and more so in implementing changes in working conditions. This is one area that companies should look into before launching into a full-blown BYOD scheme.
The BYOD trend also necessitates a shift in the traditional mindset of measuring productivity. It’s not anymore about how long employees stay in the office but the amount and quality of their output. Companies may have to reevaluate their key performance indicators and see if these KPIs properly reflect the changing setup of how work is done.
For employees, it would be a greater challenge to balance work and personal life now that their personal phones and tablets are also their work devices. How do you ensure that one doesn’t encroach on the other? Work-life integration sounds novel but the two are still separate facets of one’s life and boundaries should still be set.
Implementing BYOD may very well be a step in the right direction but making it work goes beyond expense tracking or installing nifty security features.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/7348035690/