Where do you get your work done? When asked, a majority of workers said that they don’t need to be at the office to be productive. In fact, today’s employees want the option of working wherever and whenever they want using whatever device they prefer.
Changing BYOD Guidelines
It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of so many employees bringing and doing work on their own mobile device would have caused no small amount of stress for the poor IT department. The idea of having to secure so many different devices, with different operating systems, is enough to worry anyone. Add to that the simple fact that many people fail to keep their devices up to date with current security measures and you’re looking at some real problems.
However, that is all changing, and companies are seeing the value of updating Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) guidelines. Many businesses are reporting increased employee satisfaction and productivity after making these changes. It will require some time to determine all the policies surrounding these devices (i.e. using BYOD or Stipend models, defining data ownership, compliance issues, etc.), but this strategy fits well in many modern business situations and can provide a number of advantages.
Take a look at how the modern workforce has changed:
- Get things done on your timetable. Today’s workers aren’t limited by normal office hours—they catch up on the latest numbers or reply to important emails at home, on the way into the office, or standing in line to grab lunch. This is not only convenient for employees—it allows them more flexibility in determining their schedule – but also for businesses. Employers don’t have to miss out on important opportunities because it’s the weekend.
- Work how you want. Mobile devices offer both convenience and portability. Many tablets come equipped with advanced security features and office apps, so employees can access the same files as they would have on a PC. Tablets also make it easy to send off a quick update or video chat with a client half a world away.
- Use your personal device. 72% of mobile workers would like to be able to use their personal devices for work. BYOD is a big trend—rather than relying on the company to provide them with equipment, more and more workers are opting to use their own devices to get work done, in the office or out.
While BYOD has some definite benefits for workers and employers alike, business IT departments need to ensure that the company has prepared for the potential threats to data and security that come along with it. There is certainly more opportunities to leak or lose sensitive data when these devices travel everywhere with an employee, and it is more difficult to control the types of programs that are downloaded and installed on each individual tablet or smartphone. There are, however, strategies that can help minimize these risks.
Added Productivity on an Average Day
If security remains such a big concern, why is it so important to develop policies that allow BYOD strategies? Consider a day in the life of an average employee. 17% of mobile workers already use their tablets either before or during their daily commute. They might be catching up on the latest news or reviewing the day ahead of them.
By mid afternoon they may have a meeting with a client to discuss a particular project – a presentation which can be easily augmented with the multimedia aspects on their tablet. Already 58% of mobile workers assume that they will use their tablets at work more this year than they did last. This could be in personal meetings with clients or a big presentation in front of a group of people.
At the end of the day, they might send a few emails before heading home (mobile email is growing significantly while web-based email has declined over the past few years), and while they’re relaxing at night, getting ready for the next day, they might take a quick moment to review tomorrow’s goals and agendas.
Right now, 3 out of 5 workers don’t feel like they need to be in the office at all to be productive, which could be one of the reasons 56% of companies are changing their BYOD guidelines. They may not be completely open to everything an employee may or may not want to bring, but the tight restrictions have relaxed somewhat and employees are finding new ways to be productive.
Adopting a BYOD strategy can offer a lot of benefits for both the company and the staff, but it is still important to remember that there are some issues with security, compatibility, and compliance that must be addressed. Once the right strategy is in place, though, there is a great opportunity to generate employee satisfaction and empower mobile productivity.
Alan McMahon works for Dell and is involved in marketing consumer and enterprise solutions across a range of products from tablet PCs and servers to storage and virtualization.
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It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of so many employees bringing and doing work on their own mobile devices would seem alien and improper.