Being tied down to hard-wired desktop devices and traditional working hours is becoming a thing of the past. More and more people are choosing to work flexibly and this means using their own personally owned ‘mobile’ device (smart phone, laptop, tablet) and connecting to their business network both in the office and remotely. ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is a relatively new concept, but one that seems to be taking the workplace by storm.
The feasibility of BYOD varies by sector and industry, but more and more companies are incorporating BYOD into their policies. According to the Institute of Leadership and Management, millennials will make up more than 50 per cent of the UK workforce by 2020, and these tech-savvy individuals are likely to be key drivers in the uptake of BYOD.
The extent to which BYOD is adopted varies across organisations, and research by Deloitte identified three different methods of implementation:
BYOD as a ‘complement’: allowing employees to use personal devices alongside those supplied in the workplace.
BYOD as a ‘replacement’: replacing workplace devices with employees’ own devices.
BYOD as an ‘addition’: allowing the use of personal devices alongside workplace devices (e.g. for those who don’t have exclusive access to devices in the workplace).
Perhaps not surprisingly, BYOD isn’t entirely without risks and implementation challenges, particularly when BYOD is the only option available to employees, but there are many good reasons why organisations and their employees should embrace BYOD.
Reaping the benefits of BYOD in the workplace.
Reduced IT costs – Companies who allow employees to use their own devices at work are not faced with the significant overheads associated with the purchase of hardware and devices, or their maintenance. The IT support offered in the workplace is focused on software queries and maintaining the provision of BYOD.
Increased employee satisfaction and morale – Many employees would prefer to use their own devices, with their personalised settings, rather than adapting to the quirks of unfamiliar hardware that may not be as up to date as their own.
Enhanced productivity – Employees who use their own devices will have limited training requirements in order to work productively, and the ability to work flexibly, and potentially out-of-hours, can also bring productivity improvements.
Increased flexibility – Not being tied to the workplace in order to access data has obvious benefits. Workers are increasingly demanding flexibility in their work (including remote working) and BYOD makes this flexibility possible.
Access to the most up-to-date technology – People who are avid users of their mobile devices are likely to keep them stringently up to date, which benefits both workers and their employers.
However there are some potential challenges you could face.
Reliability and performance – Can your wireless network cope with the additional demands of mobile devices running numerous complex applications? Higher expectations around speed and reliability, plus the extra bandwidth from mobile devices, means your current wireless network may struggle to deliver the performance you need, so getting the productivity benefits of BYOD requires proper planning.
Security – Data leaks, insurance implications and devices being stolen or going missing are just some of the worries. Do the devices being taken to work and then back into the home environment have sufficient security in place to protect sensitive and valuable company data? If BYOD is something you’re considering, first you’ll need to know how to protect your business – to find out how, click here.
IT support for disparate mobile devices – How can you manage the multiplicity of devices belonging to different types of users at any one time? Devices that are used at work and at home are more likely to be subject to wear and tear, so managing how your organisation’s IT department does, or doesn’t take on this responsibility needs to be a consideration.
Ensuring that devices are fit-for-purpose – The devices we use in our leisure time aren’t always as practical as those we use in the workplace. Those who are accustomed to using keyboards and multiple screens in the workplace, for example, may struggle to work as swiftly and efficiently on a laptop or touchscreen device. To ensure BYOD is successful, companies will need adapt their processes and adopt new technology to support device integration.
Segregating work life from personal life – Arguably, it can be difficult not to be distracted by personal matters when using personal devices at work, and it’s likely that employees will be less tempted to access their social media accounts on work devices than they would when using their own personal devices. However, new wireless technologies using co-ordinated access points can give you centralised control, configuration and monitoring so you can manage your entire network automatically. This allows you to provide world-class secure connectivity to your users – whether they’re your employees, your customers or visitors just passing through your offices.
We partner with Cisco Meraki whose products allow you to manage your network and all the devices on it through a robust cloud-based tool. You can see who is using your network and set controls to limit which applications and resources they can access. You can secure your company data, set passcodes and have the ability to wipe data remotely to protect yourself from leaks. You can even push content and apps out to any number of devices on the network to ensure that your users are kept up-to-date. Just as importantly, your users get fast, reliable high-capacity wireless performance, improving employee productivity or your customers’ experience of your services.
Want to find out more about BYOD or how you can successfully integrate this technology into your business? Just get in touch with a member of our team and we’d be happy to help.
We are more than just a provider of IT services, we are an IT partner. We partner with our clients to help them grow their businesses through the best technology and IT solutions available. Our extensive experience means that we understand the challenges our clients are facing and we know how to help our clients achieve their business goals through the best technology and IT systems. Everything from cloud computing and cyber security, to telephony and video conferencing – we’ve got your back when you need it most.
Get in touch with a member of our team if you’d like to find out about partnering with us.