Biz Features

Why Your Workplace BYOD Policy Doesn’t Work

by . September 10th, 2015

Bring your own device (BYOD) policies are a fact of life in many industries. Here’s a few reasons you might not want to follow.

Yeah, all the cool startups are doing it, or so you’re told. BYOD can be a blessing in several different contexts, from helping small startups save a few thousand dollars, to helping larger enterprises create more flexible work structures.

As with anything, there are a few drawbacks, the most well-known of which is this one:


Security


Security holes are difficult enough to avoid in a conventional setting. Bring your own device policies make security breaches far more likely, as this increases possible points of contact with different threats, from malware attacks to physical theft or tampering.

Enterprises of every size are currently figuring out acceptable procedures and support models that balance both their employees’ needs and their security concerns. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it fits your specific security needs and isn’t just what everyone else is doing.


Distractions


One reason a lot of managers haven’t jumped on board the BYOD bandwagon is that the acronym might as well mean “bring your own distractions”. It’s no secret that a lot of otherwise productive hours have been lost to Solitaire and Minesweeper, when IT people overlook removing them. BYOD policies inc


Peer pressure


Envy can cause a less than ideal working relationship between employees. Tech devices are unsurprisingly a major cause of envy in modern workplaces.  A 2012 survey suggested that about 40% of workers working in BYOD situations have instanced of “tech envy”.

Perhaps the most surprising thing to come out of that survey was which demographic reported the most envy:  60% of Working moms over age 30 with annual incomes less than $125,000 admit to being envious of coworkers with shinier toys.



Standardization and tech support problems


Since most of the devices will be different, IT and sysad people (if you have them) may not be immediately familiar with your teams’ devices, complicating things should anything go wrong. It’s not the most difficult thing to overcome, but worth looking into as some enterprises may primarily work with a specific operating systems or a specific set of apps.



Blurring of work and home life



It’s maddening for most people to not be able to have some alone time. BYOD often means — either implicitly or explicitly — you bring work home with you. Numerous studies indicate that past a certain number of hours worked, productivity tends to drop dramatically.

The reverse can also be true and team members may end up bringing more personal stuff better left at home, also causing lost productivity.



Unreasonable out-of-pocket expenses


One attractive feature of BYOD policies is that they allow enterprises to save money by letting employees shoulder some of the expenses. Of course, it’s not exactly sold that way. The implicit idea is that BYOD allows employees to use devices they already are familiar with to do the job.

But there might be situations where members of your team might be expected to perform certain tasks that the devices they currently own might not necessarily be optimized for, requiring them to spend some of their own money to get the job done. Classic examples of these expenditures might be pen tablets or updated software suites.

While it’s somewhat reasonable to expect people these days to own laptops and smartphones for personal use, it’s a lot less reasonable to expect the same for specialized tools that might not be at all relevant outside of work. Expecting employees to shoulder these sort of expenses without compensation can lead to resentment.


BYOD policies, like anything else, should be fair and take into account who has more to lose in a given situation. They are no longer novel in many industries; a lot of the time, BYOD is just the way things are done, especially in lean startups.


What’s your take on the BYOD trend? Comment below!


 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.

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