Mobility is more than a buzzword in today’s world. Thanks to smartphones, tablets and cloud services (like RingCentral) — boundaries related to work, time and location are blurring. The question isn’t whether people are using their personal electronic devices in their professional lives – it’s how companies are responding.
Does this mean returning to the era of heavy-handed restrictions on device use? Hardly. But, as personal mobile devices become commonplace in corporate environments, it’s critical that firms put in place policies regarding their use.
Here are three reasons why bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies make sense.
1) Employees are going to use their phones and tablets, regardless of policy.
People are creatures of habit. A person who’s accustomed to checking her personal email on her smartphone will be inclined to do the same for her work email.
Quite simply, the employees of your company are going to use their personal devices to access work applications, if they haven’t already. Indeed, email is just the tip of the iceberg: what other services do your coworkers use on a regular basis?
The simple truth is, many of the products people use at work may be accessed from a mobile device using either an app or the device’s browser. For that reason, you – or whomever you’ve tasked with managing IT at your firm – should seek to implement guidelines for the safe and responsible use of mobile devices on work platforms.
2) A well thought-out BYOD plan will help improve security across your network.
BYOD has gotten a lot of press in recent months, but it’s only one component of IT policy. Optimizing your office’s network for employees’ mobile devices will force you to ask questions about the security of your broader network – and take action to improve it for the better.
Curtis, RingCentral’s vice president of network operations, offers in this blog post a conundrum which illustrates the value of developing a robust policy on network design and personal-device use. In the situation presented by Curtis, an imaginary IT manager must design a network that can intelligently switch between the needs of different users. A network that can accommodate all of them will be strong and sophisticated. In addition, it will be well-equipped to handle different employee needs in the future.
The precept behind designing for BYOD is similar. By creating a solid BYOD policy (and building a network that permits the secure use of employee devices), your office will be protected from digital threats today and capable of withstanding the forces of technological change in the months and years to come.
3) Accommodating employees’ mobile-device preferences will make for happier employees.
It’s increasingly clear that happier workplaces perform better than uninspiring ones. According to Gallup (cited in this New York Times piece), employee disengagement costs U.S. companies roughly $300 billion annually. And the qualitative benefits of keeping employees content are obvious: someone who’s unhappy with his job will be much less likely to commit fully to the work he does.
It’s qualitative factors, in fact, that makes a strong argument for BYOD policy implementation. The simple act of assembling a plan for BYOD will alert the people at your company to the fact that you are willing to do what you can to make their jobs more pleasant. That, in turn, can boost both satisfaction and loyalty.
In addition, tools that empower people to work where and when they want will pay dividends for companies and workers alike. That’s one of the principal benefits of RingCentral, which offers a unified user experience across a variety of platforms (and allows access to one’s phone system from virtually anywhere).
Do you have any BYOD tips to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below!
Originally published Dec 12, 2012, updated Aug 07, 2020