Whether its BYOD or CYOD, employers and employees are embracing the benefits of policies that give them more flexibility. Employees are bringing their laptops and smartphones to enterprise and companies are seeing the benefits. But the benefits of this relatively new type of policy are not without their potential downfalls. Here are four important things to know about how BYOD policies impact business.
How mobile is the workforce?
Changes in technology have allowed for rapid change in how employees work. The mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.3 billion people – more than 35 percent of the total workforce – by 2015, according to IDC. Employees who are liberated to work outside their office, also known as the mobile workforce, are experiencing unprecedented flexibility thanks in large part to BYOD policies.
Millennials are the ones leading the embrace of BYOD policies, according to TrackVia. Almost seventy percent of this generation of employees says they bring outside applications to support their work. Only 30 percent of baby boomers say the same.
As a growing part of the workforce, responding to millennails’ mobile needs is smart business practice. A Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group survey found that the number of BYOD devices is expected to grow more than 100 percent between 2013 and 2016.
Efficiency for company
BYOD policies offer employees the most freedom in allowing them to work on the devices they want. Employees may be more comfortable with certain technology – in part because they use it in their personal life – or they may see benefits to working on the device that their employers don’t see.
The study by the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group found that U.S. BYOD employees save 81 minutes per week using their own device. These employees also said they get more work done using their own laptops. About 20 percent say corporate devices lack functionality and about 25 percent say that they prefer the operating system on their own device, according to the study.
Cost savings are not guaranteed with a BYOD policy, especially if complications arise on employees’ devices. Hidden costs, such as making sure the IT department is properly staffed to aid these mobile workers, could reduce the economic benefits of saving the cost of providing employees with devices.
Impact on employees
While employees may appreciate certain aspects of being part of the mobile device-connected workforce, some employees do have concerns.
For example, 70 percent of employees are uncomfortable with remote wipes as a part of BYOD policy, but a remote wipe occurs once every three minutes. Businesses need to manage security concerns while respecting employee privacy. The same device with the company calendar could have family photos and other valued personal information.
BYOD policies could also have a negative impact on employees if they are not managed properly. More than 60 percent of IT professionals said in a survey they prefer the old system of defined hours and the guarantee of being unreachable during personal time. Half of these professionals also said that being so connected increased their stress. Companies should be careful to avoid burnt-out employees.
Security is also an important factor to consider in the age of the workforce that can connect to business information through several devices. Sensitive company information will always need to be protected – no matter the device involved. One survey found that 57 percent of IT executives said mobile clients and unmanaged devices was their top security concern. A separate survey found that a majority of the 4.5 million smartphones were lost or stolen in the U.S. last year didn’t have screen locks enabled.
Millennials, the demographic leading the transition to the more flexible workforce, may have a more lax view of corporate security than IT departments would prefer. Sixty percent say they aren’t concerned about using personal apps instead of corporate-approved apps, according to TrackVia. Another study found that 15 percent of employees think they have none or minimal responsibility to protect corporate data on their devices.
With so many companies and employees embracing BYOD policies and as technology continues to develop and provide opportunities outside the office, the mobile workforce will continue to grow.