Employees Won't Stop Bringing Phones to Work, but That's Not Necessarily Bad


Employee use of their own devices has significant impact on their employer.
Employee use of their own devices has significant impact on their employer.

I am having surgery this week so I have lined up several guest posts to fill the days. Today’s post is a guest post courtesy of Social Monsters. BYOD is a key issue for HR today.
Whether or not employees are using their device to perform work, they bring their smartphones and tablets along anyway. Yet only 35 percent of businesses effectively communicate a BYOD policy, TEKSystems notes, with 65 percent simply ignoring BYOD or banning personal devices in the workplace. However you feel, BYOD is coming, and your business can realize productivity gains and cost savings only if you choose to address it outright.
BYOD Concerns
Because small business owners may not have the robust tech infrastructure to handle device security and troubleshooting, they face more BYOD concerns than enterprise leadership. These include:

  • Business data security – If an employee loses their phone, confidential business data can be revealed. Free remote device wiping technology does exist, but needs to be enabled before devices are lost. You may need an app like the BlackBerry Protect or the iPhone iCloud to wipe the device.
  • Employee productivity – As a small business owner, you may worry that your employees will spend more time SMS messaging than actually working. Sure, employees may play a few rounds of Bejeweled while waiting for that conference call to start. But they probably already do so. If you cannot trust an employee to manage her own productivity, you should rethink her place on your team.
  • Device security – The dramatic rise in Android malware may have you concerned that employee devices will bring malware into your system. Make use of free smartphone antivirus tools from Sophos or other antivirus software providers to cut the risk of malware in your organization.
  • Lost data – In-house data may be backed up regularly, but what about smartphone business data? Employees can back up their phones using platform-specific backups or tools like Dropbox. Creating a data management policy can help all employees prevent both personal and business data loss.

When properly supported, BYOD can actually save money by allowing small businesses to reduce tech expenditure and make use of free or low-cost apps and cloud utilities.
BYOD Policies Can Help You Stay on Top
To realize productivity gains and cost savings, develop a policy that outlines what devices can be used at work, how they can be used and what steps employees need to take to protect data. Since small business typically do not have a large IT staff, your policy should direct employees on how to troubleshoot their device. Items to consider adding to your policy include:

  • Supported apps – Detail what apps employees should use for performing work and backing up their data.
  • Supported devices – You may set a preference for BlackBerry or iPhone, particularly if the Android malware issue concerns you. While employees still may bring their Droid to work, it can function as a personal phone.
  • Keeping devices safe – From antivirus protection to maintaining the latest patches and software, detail how staff should keep personal devices safe.
  • Allowed activities – You can combat procrastination with an official stance on allowed activities. Keeping in mind that employees may need to take a personal call from time to time, lay out acceptable device use at work.

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