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What you need to know about BYOD

BYOD is another popular buzzword that has been doing the rounds for a few years – but what does it mean for your business and why should you care?BYOD stands for ‘bring your own device’, so working from your own laptop, tablet or phone, rather than one issued by the company you work for – or perhaps issued by you as an employer. These days, we’re starting to work much more flexibly, whether that’s in terms of the physical location we are working from, or how we are working (collaboratively or freelance, for example). So it makes sense for companies to consider adopting policies for devices that suit this way of working.

Beyond that, it’s also a case of changing technology. The ease of access that most of us now have to innovative new devices, apps and tools means that it’s not just IT teams that have a knowledge of new technology. Now, devices that we are given for work can be outdated or frustrating to work on, so working on our own smartphone, tablet or laptop might be preferable. What’s more, BYOD takes the onus off a single group of people in the office to be tech experts.

Like most ways of working, BYOD comes with pros and cons. We’ve listed them out for you below to help you decide whether BYOD could work for your business.

Pros

Saving money and time

The main advantage of encouraging a BYOD policy within your business is that it can reduce your expenditure on multiple fronts. Essentially, your staff or those that you work with will be covering the costs for their own devices – so you won’t have to worry about maintenance, software and licensing, and you’ll save bookkeeping time.

Staff satisfaction

Working on your own laptop, with your own screensaver, the familiar stains on the keyboard and the little ticks that only you know, is comfortable. It may seem like something that would have little impact, but businesses and organisations are increasingly recognising that people feel far happier working on devices that they are familiar with. It also means less for them to carry around while they work.

Increased productivity and agile working

Happy employees tend to be more productive. If they’re working on devices that they’re familiar with, chances are they’ll be more focused on the task at hand instead of trying to navigate their way through new systems. They’ll be able to work more efficiently and cloud technology means that working collaboratively or accessing documents doesn’t require the wizardry of an IT technician.

Cons

Upsetting the work life balance

Anyone who ever had to use their personal device or email for professional purposes will understand the frustration of having work calls at inconvenient times or having important emails saved in the same space as messages from friends and family. Not having clear boundaries can encourage an open-door policy where your team feels they can or should communicate at all hours with no cut off point or break. Obviously, it’s not the healthiest way to work.

Security

BYOD covers everything from USBs to mobile phones – devices on which you’ll have information about your business, from ideas and financial information to sensitive data about your customers that could jeopardise privacy. As a business, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you have guidelines in place to protect sensitive information. What’s more, as small businesses are increasingly targets for hackers, it’s in your own interest to make sure you’ve done all you can to keep information safe.

Less fluidity

Flexible working means less fluidity – all your information saved in multiple places can make it harder to keep track of information and projects. It can make access tricky if something is saved on just one person’s laptop, for example, or if they have been working on an application that works on one device but not another (a Mac versus a PC, or Android versus iPhone).

Keep an eye out for our next piece about how you can solve some of the challenges that come with BYOD through clever apps, and, for more guidance, you can use these government guidelines.