BYOD--the trojan horse to make you work more

BYOD--the trojan horse to make you work more

Summary: Companies shouldn't resist the growing call to let employees use their own devices for work. It saves money, makes employees work more, and increases happiness. Stop fighting it!


There has been a flurry of posts lately regarding BYOD (bring-your-own-device) programs that are gaining traction among companies. Lots of debate about the positives and negatives. It lowers the cost in the hardware budget, but brings about greater security risk for the company and requires increased effort on policies regarding company data, and so on.

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However, there is surprisingly little talk about increased employee productivity, which is strange since increased productivity is the biggest benefit from implementing a BYOD program.

Why would productivity increase? It's simple--an employee using their own device is likely to have their eyes on it at all hours. While employees are happy they're using a device they're comfortable with, management should be gleefully patting themselves on the back having created the Trojan horse that spurs employees into working outside of office hours.

After all, if the work device is a personal device too, while they're waiting in line for a movie or fiddling at a restaurant with their phone, their eyeballs will be scanning through to see if work e-mail messages or items came through.

With cloud-based productivity suites such as Office 365 and Google Apps, as well as cloud storage like Dropbox and SkyDrive, infrastructure that supports a majority of popular devices is already in place. Spreadsheet, word processor, e-mail, and presentation-generator...these are the tools most employees need. Set your document retention and security policies on the server to which the employees' devices are connecting, and your company is set to safely handle whichever devices your employees want to bring.

So what's all the debate about? It's inevitable that employees will use their own devices. The employees will be happier and more productive and the company will save money on hardware expenses. 

Topics: Bring Your Own Device, Mobility, SMBs, BYOD and the Consumerization of IT


Howard spent 14 years in the tech industry working as a programmer, evangelist, and community manager for Microsoft. In 2009, he had lived his "dream" of middle-management long enough and opened a Japanese restaurant called Standing Sushi Bar. Trading in stock grants and software licenses for raw fish and cash, he enjoys mixing his passion for technology into the daily hustle of small business.

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  • It's a scam!

    Employees are not crying out to BYOD - employers are increasingly encouraging it to save the cost of providing the devices, and to have access to employees during hours when they aren't being paid.

    Sure some are hanging back for 'security reasons' - a fine reason not seriously addressed in the article - but the trend is strong.

    Don't dress this up as employee-led or employee benefit - it just isn't. Employees, as ever, are being shafted.
    • No, it's not.

      Speaking just for myself, if I had my choice I sure as heck wouldn't be using a (work supplied) Blackberry or my frequently problematic PC. But good luck getting any of the products I'd rather use past the IT gestapo.
  • Productivity - may be true to a point,

    While the productivity of employees may increase in after hours, it is also true that a loss of productivity will occur during the work hours when employees use the device to check out the sports, monitor personal emails, play apps, etc.

    Administration can probably deal with this by measuring productivity and workload.

    However, BYOD has still not addressed the security or the legal side. How companies can ensure the updates that are critical for protection are patched, what happens when they leave the company? Are backups in the cloud? What other apps are loaded and what confidential information is on the device when lost? Just to name a few.
  • It all depends

    Some employees do want this. They already are being asked to work outside of the business, and this gives them even better convenience to accommodate the balance of work and home life. I get that. However, when I mention to employees that their phone potentially becomes discoverable in legal actions, and could require forfeiture, enthusiasm typically shrivels. The likelihood is small, yes, but it is a possibility and does need to be acknowledged.

    From the businesses' standpoint, security is the overriding concern w/ opening this up. Blackberry did a good job of providing controls, but once you lose control over the individual devices, a lot of risk opens up. Until these issues are able to be dealt with in a consistent manner, it's touch and go.
  • Let's see the numbers

    I don't think this so-called productivity increase is as inevitable as you suggest.
    The only real argument for BYOD is if you are working to tight deadlines on a fixed-price contract and the client (typically) tries to stick you with the leftover garbage from the basement dead-computer storage.
    BYOD is an attempt by businesses to "externalize" a lot of costs. As devices become more powerful and more capable of getting work done, work load will shift from teh desktop to portable devices. In companies that adopt BYOD, internal IT costs will gradually shrink in favor of employee-owned devices.
    I have to agree with the first post - its a scam.
  • Win & Lose for both parties. Wash?

    I keep my personal and work data on the same devices. My employer benefits because I quite often read and respond to business issues on weekends, evenings, etc. when I just happened to pick up my device for personal reasons.

    On the same level, I get a chance to check on email & FaceBook posts from my kids and family from work. I don't play games or watch videos, but I am sure some folks do.

    My employer provides some of my devices. Some, I paid for. So, they are not always saving money, and they don't force me into this situation. I don't blame them for my extra productivity, its a choice I make. Or, I can choose not to.

    The only time I would consider it purely one-sided would be if the employer had a policy of "if you want device XXX to do your job, buy one yourself and bring it in."
  • Simple Answer...sort of.

    Two problems.

    The first has already been mentioned, security and not all IT departments can write their own security guidelines. It work for a State Agency where the security rules are a state law. Email is okay, but other state data is not getting onto iPods and smartphones.

    Second, BYOD is not coming from the bottom up, it is coming from the top down. Execs want to use the toys at work, so they tell IT to make it happen. Middle management gets to go along for the ride, but they have to show the value of BYOD.

    The corollary to BYOD is that it will never reach the masses (the peons) because management wants them in their chairs, at their desks, where they can keep an eye on them. All those peons have desktop PCs because that ties them to their desk, where a manager can watch them. If the manager does not have to watch the peons, then his reason for being goes away...and if you haven't noticed, MBAs rule the business world, which is why things are going to hell in a hand basket.