The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon has only been around for a short while, and it is growing all the time. What started with some employees pushing to use their personal smartphones for work has expanded to include tablets and notebooks. Some enthusiasts like to use their own gear at work, and more and more companies are adopting the practice for different reasons.
Whether a company is a Fortune 500 firm or a little startup, there is really only one reason to allow employees to BYOD. Increased productivity from workers using their own precious gadgets is the only reason to do it.
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The practice shouldn't be viewed as a way for the company to save money, and I hear from folks every day that see this at work. No, companies should only allow employees to use their own gadgets if it makes them more productive at work.
No matter how informally companies approach BYOD, there are long-term ramifications and costs that will be a result. Security is a big consideration, as employees expect freedom when using gear paid for out of their own pocket. They won't take kindly to a corporate lock-down of their phone or tablet.
Allowing workers to bring their own gear to save the small company money is the worst reason of all for BYOD. This is business, and companies must pay their own way to play. Putting the burden of buying gear on the employees is going to backfire at some point. People are quick on the uptake, and once they figure out you're taking advantage of them your morale will tank.
Companies large and small are trying to figure out how to implement BYOD in the best way for their business. The security issues are not trivial, and support of personal gadgetry a potential nightmare for the enterprise. Most companies will come to realize that letting workers bring their own gear costs them money in the long run.
While it may seem to be a morale booster to let employees use their own iPhones and Android phones, the benefits to the company of doing so are quite small. Especially when you compare those benefits to the potential problems it creates.
If bringing their own gear to work results in a big jump in productivity, then and only then will the practice reap rewards. All other benefits are trivial and potentially costly to the company in the long run. This is no different than any other practice affecting the employees.
We've been grousing about the choice of inferior hardware our companies foist upon us for years. But we've used it productively because it was required of us to do so. That hasn't changed just because of BYOD. The bottom line is what is in the company's best interest?