For better or for worse, BYOD (or Bring your Own Device) to the workplace is here to stay. Smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous and can now be found attached to humans of all kinds, at all times of the day and in all sorts of public spaces. Whether employees use their device for work, reserve it for personal use or for both, nobody is putting that genie back in the bottle any time soon.
It makes sense then for employers to embrace the fact that devices will be present at work. What is essential, however, is that some ground rules are laid down about these powerful and convenient yet potentially disruptive little devices.
Some of the hurdles to be addressed include data breaches, challenges for IT support and business settings protocols. However, once you’ve acknowledged the potential hurdles, you should also know that the many benefits of BYOD include:
- IT savings – businesses can save on the significant purchase costs of high value mobile devices.
- Better care of IT – employees are more likely to take better care of their own property so saving on replacement costs too
- Take advantage of the latest technology – recognising the blurring of work and home, technology sellers are offering convenient cloud-based solutions.
- Better employee engagement – staff will be happier working on their own familiar device which they have chosen themselves and which is often more advanced than those offred by work.
These factors help improve employee motivation and morale.
The key is to take a strategic approach and apply some good BYOD practice. Create a ‘BYOD checklist’ for employees using their own mobile devices which include guidelines and some of the following tips on managing BYOD:
- Loss or theft of device – make clear who will be responsible for lost or stolen devices and whether or not they are covered under the business insurance.
- Privacy – ensure employees are aware that some business IT processes (e.g. data recovery) cannot distinguish between private and company data and therefore under certain circumstances privacy cannot be guaranteed.
- Protecting company data – establish and agree a process for departing employees to ensure that company data on personal mobile devices is deleted.
- Provision of IT support – establish and communicate the level of IT support that will be offered for employee’s own devices and also which aspects of technical maintenance and responsibility remain with the member of staff.
- Draw up a usage policy – consult IT and any legal support you have about a usage policy which aims to educate staff about user security measures.
For good or ill, the BYOD trend is irreversible. Review your own IT systems to maximize the situation and generate positive impacts – for example adopt cloud-based systems which will be accessible by managers, supervisors and staff alike whether using office PCs or personal mobile devices.
Cloud-based time and attendance systems such as uAttend are perfectly designed to make the best use of BYOD. Staff can clock in to the uAttend system using the free uAttend smartphone app. The app can be used on Android phones and iPhones. The uAttend administrator selects the clocking options that staff are allowed to use to clock in. Geolocation can also be used to only allow staff to clock in from where they are supposed to be. Staff are not being continuously monitored so there are no potential home/work privacy issues.
Web Clocking is another option that staff can use to clock in and out using tablets and PCs