working from home, bring your own device
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The Pros and Cons of BYOD for Your Remote Workforce

Working remotely used to be seen as a perk. In 2018, just 5% of the US labor force worked remotely on a regular basis. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent transformation of working patterns, this number has risen to almost 42% of workers

It’s not unreasonable to speculate that when the pandemic calms down and life starts to return to normal, remote working will remain the norm. After all, businesses will have made the arrangements necessary in order to remain successful with a remote workforce.

While convenient, remote working presents its own set of unique challenges when it comes to technology, security, and systems access. Many companies have implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, which allows employees to use their own smartphones, laptops, and other equipment for work purposes. 

If you’re thinking of implementing your own BYOD policy, there are some implications to consider. Here’s a look at the major pros and cons:

The Pros

There are many good reasons to seriously consider introducing BYOD into your business. Some of the main advantages of BYOD include: 

Lower Costs

Issuing a high spec laptop and smartphone to every employee is expensive. A study by Cisco found that companies could save up to $3,150 simply by implementing a BYOD policy. Part of the savings came from shifting costs to employees, but there was also a significant savings from estimated productivity increases.

It makes sense; if employees bring their own devices, you don’t have to train them on how to use unfamiliar company-issued equipment. Software training may still apply, but workers will be more comfortable on their own devices and will likely learn faster on a familiar operating system.

Improved Employee Engagement

Surprising as it may sound, BYOD policies have also been shown to improve employee engagement. In a survey, Deloitte found that 83% of skilled employees were satisfied with their jobs when they had a flexible IT policy. Only 62% were satisfied when they had a more rigid policy.

Employees like not having to carry around multiple gadgets and often feel more at home in the workplace when they can bring their own devices. Happy, motivated employees are more loyal and productive. Research has shown that an engaged employee is over 20% more productive than a disengaged one. Increasing your flexibility by allowing employees to use their own devices makes you more likely to increase employee engagement and productivity in your organization.

Increased Productivity

Since employees are already expert on their own devices, there’s little training necessary and no learning curve that takes time away from the work that needs to be done. Decreased frustration, more flexibility, and a more profound sense of freedom also drive employees to be more productive under a BYOD policy

The Cons

While there are a few advantages to implementing BYOD, there are also several disadvantages.  

Security Issues

Employees’ personal devices can often represent a much bigger risk to a business than company-provided devices. Data breaches, which can cause untold reputational and financial damage to a business, are more common with employee devices because they can be more easily lost or stolen. 

When supplying equipment directly, you can control access, antivirus programs, software, and data back-ups. This is much more difficult with an employee-owned device. When someone leaves the company, you may also find it difficult to completely remove confidential information from their personal devices. 

In order to reduce the risks, you’ll need to enforce measures such as strict password policies, secured wifi networks, and remote desktops. You’ll also have to teach employees cybersecurity measures, such as how to identify potential phishing scams. You should work with a reliable IT company to ensure your BYOD policy is sufficient to protect against cyber threats.

Incompatibility With Your Systems

If your employees are using their own devices, you can’t control the specification or model of the device. There may be problems as older devices attempt to access your core systems. Some employee devices may also be incompatible with specialist software that you use. 

It’s also more complex for your IT team to provide support to personal employee devices. Rather than having to service a standard model issued to everyone, IT teams will have to learn to support many different models and brands.  

Conclusion

Before implementing a BYOD policy within your organization, you should weigh up the pros and cons to decide whether it’s right for you. Though BYOD can present unique challenges, a well-thought-out policy, backed up by robust security and training, can mitigate a lot of the accompanying security risks.