Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the practice of allowing employees to use their personal smartphone and tablet devices for business related purposes. This practice can be mutually beneficial for both the employee and the employer.
The biggest benefit of BYOD is cost. By reducing the size of wireless contracts and offering employees added pay incentives to use their personal devices at work, companies can save thousands of dollars each year. Employees gain from this by making more money and reducing the number of devices they have to carry around.
With that said, the question we hear from businesses is whether or not it’s a viable solution. The answer is yes, as long as a few policy guidelines are in place in advance and followed. The old saying still stands true, “Poor Planning Produces Poor Results”.
Imagine that your largest client calls to check on the status of an order. The receptionist transfers the call to Joe, your senior account manager. Joe is not in the office today so the phone system transfers the call to his mobile phone. Instead of a typical ring, Joe has set his phone to play hold music and set it to his favorite rock band song. If that is not bad enough, Joe is not available and instead of hearing a professional voicemail message they hear, “It’s Joe. Sorry I missed ya. You know what to do so just do it!”.
This would not just be unprofessional but very embarrassing. Most businesses have policies preventing such nonprofessional actions on corporate cell phones. They also have policies restricting the type of apps that can be loaded onto corporate smartphones and tablets. The question is how do you restrict what employees can do on their personal devices like personal ringbacks and playing Angry Birds while at work?
These questions are the reasons why Human Resources and IT departments have fought hard for years to keep non-corporate devices out of the workplace.Yet the influx of personal devices into the workplace continues to grow every year.
So how can you successfully implement BYOD? The answer is Policy, Policy, and more Policy. While you cannot legally prevent employees from installing games and social media apps on their personal devices, you can prohibit their use while on the corporate clock. You can also implement polices that restrict the type of ringback and voicemail messages used if the employee is being compensated for the use of their device. For this reason, a strong communication between HR and IT must be kept open when it comes to BYOD.
BYOD is a viable business solution that should be investigated thoroughly and tested with a handful of employees first before offering it to the entire company. Truth is, no matter how many policies are put in place or how many incentives are offered, there will never be a BYOD that completely replaces the need of corporate devices. Some people will just “have to have” the new song as their ringback or funny saying on their voicemail for social reasons and no incentive will be enough.