Workers: Do your part to make BYOD a success

Summary:Bringing personal devices to work is gaining in popularity, but it's not without responsibility for the employee.

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You've been wistfully hearing about BYOD programs for a while, and finally your employer has started allowing you to bring your own device for work. No matter if the device you're going to use for work is a phone, tablet, or laptop, you want to make sure you do everything you can to make the BYOD program a success. Otherwise you'll be back to using whatever hardware your company deems fit for employees.

Conversations about making BYOD programs a success usually revolve around what the employer and support staff should do. They in great part control the program, and will be the ones to determine if it's working well enough to continue in the future. 

Don't miss the special feature: BYOD and the Consumerization of IT

Having the right attitude will go a long way determining that both sides, employer and worker, get the most benefit out of those bringing their own gadgets to work.

Another big factor in how well BYOD programs work is on the backs of employee participants. Ultimately, if workers don't conduct themselves in a way that helps the company, BYOD will be going away. Having the right attitude will go a long way determining that both sides, employer and worker, get the most benefit out of those bringing their own gadgets to work.

Stick to the suggested device list

Most companies do research when they consider letting employees bring their own gadgetry to work. This often leads to a suggested list of phones, tablets, and laptops that work well with the corporate system. Perhaps internal testing has been conducted that determines what devices are suggested for BYOD use.

Whatever method was employed to approve devices, it is imperative that workers stick to them. Even if your device will almost certainly work, if it's not on the list then it's better to leave it at home.

Bringing other devices implies that you are going to push against BYOD restrictions, and that sets a less-than-favorable tone to this new relationship. It also opens you up to ongoing problems should your gadget have issues when used for work functions. 

When on the clock don't do personal things

You may be tempted to do fun things at work when using your own tablet or phone, but don't fall into this trap. Just because you're using your beloved device doesn't change the fact that you're being paid to do a certain job. Your employer deserves your undivided attention in this effort.

If folks at work see you checking Facebook or playing games on your tablet, even if you're on a break, the impression will be that you're goofing off inappropriately. If this happens enough, and with numerous BYOD participants, it's likely the program will be deemed a failure by those that control it. BYOD may end up going away, and you'll be stuck using whatever clunky gear is assigned to you, as in the old days.

Support staff is your friend — don't abuse the relationship

The corporate IT staff is tasked with helping workers with issues affecting the ability to do a good job, and this applies to those who use their own gear. Understand that this complicates their job, as they might not be familiar with your particular gadget. That's more likely if your device is not on the suggested gadget list as previously mentioned.

If you have trouble doing work functions with your gear, by all means ask the support staff for help. Contrary to what some believe, most IT personnel are conscientious and willing to go the distance to help workers. 

Keep support requests to work-related issues. As helpful as the support staff may be, asking them to help you with your personal email, for example, is pushing things. They're not expected to help with non-work apps and operation, nor should they be.

Above all else, always be respectful to your IT department. They don't deserve any less.

Stick to established procedure

If you're a tech-savvy device owner, you may think your way of doing something is better than the established work procedure. Even if it is, do it the way the company sanctions it to be done.

Maybe your way is better than the defined procedure, but not following the company way will create problems for you and your employer. Support issues in this area will become unclear to resolve, and you won't win any friends in the IT department.

Feel free to respectfully point out your preferred method to IT, but don't push it. Their job is hard enough as it is, they don't need to argue company policy or procedure with you just because you bring your own device to work.

Keep an extra charger in the office

We've all forgotten to charge the tablet or other device at some point, and run out of juice during the day. That's not a big deal normally, but in BYOD situations that's unacceptable. The company is letting you bring your own gear for work, and it's your responsibility to make sure it's able to do that for the entire work day.

The easiest way to make sure your gadget always has juice is to keep an extra power charger at work. They aren't that expensive so it's not a big deal to keep one in your desk, or car if you work in the field. Make sure you can give your employer a full day's work.

Give BYOD a decent chance

Allowing employees to use their own gadgetry for work purposes is a new approach. Done right, BYOD can benefit both the employer and the employee. Success of the BYOD program depends on both sides doing what's expected, and these guidelines will go a long way to meet the worker's responsibilities.

See related:

BYOD: Like inviting your boss into your house when you're not home

The ABC's of BYOD for the SMB

BYOD: Death of the nonworking vacation?

5 things not to do when telecommuting

Home workers: Get out and meet people

Topics: Mobility, Bring Your Own Device, Laptops, Smartphones, Tablets

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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