BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone), or BYOPC (Bring Your Own Personal Computer) – Whatever you want to call it, it’s probably already present in your workplace!
The term BYOD refers to employees using their personally owned mobile devices (tablets, laptops, smartphones) at work. Most Millenials in Singapore are probably familiar and comfortable with this concept, having used their own mobile devices in their polytechnic, design school, or university.
95% of organizations allow you to BYOB (Bring Your Own Device) – does yours?
Cisco released a study on BYOD back in 2012, which found that 95% of respondents’ organizations permitted employee-owned devices at work. 36% even provide full support for an such devices.
Percentage of BYOD-ers Who Bring Laptops, Smartphones, and Tablets to Work (Cisco, 2013)
Cisco’s updated BYOD study of 1679 respondents in 2013 found that approximately 81% of employees brought their smartphones to work, with tablets and laptops coming in at 56% and 37% respectively.
Why (some) employees love BYOD
BYOD is a win-win for both employers and employees. Employees get to work with a device that they are comfortable with, which is likely more modern (for example, a new MacBook packed with useful features as opposed to an outdated company laptop with only basic tools) and customized to their personal preferences (be it in terms of cosmetic appearance or device settings).
Their comfort levels are likely to increase by working with devices they are familiar with, so they don’t have to expend time and effort getting used to an unfamiliar device. Its mobility provides employees with incredible convenience.
Top Reasons BYOD-ers Use Their Own Devices for Work (Cisco, 2013)
Statistics in Cisco’s 2013 study corroborate this preference, with 46 to 56% of respondents choosing “getting more work done on their own device” as the top reason for bringing their own device to work!
Of course, all this will occur in an ideal scenario. While 46% of respondents actually choose this as a top reason to BYOD, some employees may be uncomfortable with mixing personal documents with business resources, preferring to keep work separate from their personal lives and property. They might also dislike hauling their laptop to and from the workplace, or leaving it at the office rather than having it at home.
On top of this, not everybody can afford to purchase their own devices either, or want to.
Why employers should allow BYOD
BYOD also benefits employers in both tangible and intangible ways. Here are some of the reasons you should allow (but perhaps not require) BYOD at your workplace:
Cost savings from BYOD
Cisco’s updated study in 2013 found that BYOD brought employers significant cost savings.
Your employees want to use their own devices at work? Sweet! You can save at least a few hundred dollars (or even thousands) per employee from this alone. Not only that, you save time spent on processing claims for these purchases and recording each and every device’s serial numbers, and space used to store these devices when not in use.
Percentage of BYOD-ers Who Have Saved Two or More Hours per Week Using BYOD Devices (Cisco, 2013)
36% of respondents to Cisco’s 2013 study save at least 2 hours a week by using their own devices for work, with 21% saving at least 4 hours. Not only this, the study found that 53% of BYOD workers’ productivity increased due to employee-led innovations. Companies are expected to continue excelling in this area due to BYOD equipping workers with the tools for constant innovation on the job.
Allowing your employees access to company data (be it just their email, or other company resources) on the move helps them respond to urgent requests immediately, without having to stay behind in the office too often. Millennials in particular, are open to greater connectivity to their workplace. Forget 9 to 5 workdays! 89% of Millennials regularly check their business emails after work hours, and 77% believe that flexible work hours will increase their productivity levels.
Risks of BYOD
Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive (Infrastructure and Services Development) of IDA (Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) emphasizes the need for companies turning to BYOD to strike a balance between usability, cost, and security. In fact, security is frequently brought up as the key risk of BYOD, both on the part of employees and organisations.
Employees may fear their privacy being breached by using their devices at work, particularly on a company network. Organisations on the other hand may fear data security being compromised, and sensitive information or company resources being used for other purposes outside of work hours.
No, I wasn’t referring to the song (pardon me if it’s stuck in your head now)! BYOD can blur the lines between personal time and work – and not everyone would like work following them home.
The 2016 Hays Salary Guide found that work-life balance was the greatest factor for staff retention in Singapore, and you could risk demotivated employees by invading their homes.
More studies should probably be conducted to monitor this, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, employees may even feel a bit more relaxed as they can spread their tasks more easily through the day instead of staying over time in the office. For example, they can answer emails or attending remote meetings on the go instead of wasting an hour or two travelling back and forth from the office.
How to ease in to BYOD
Most employees in Singapore likely own at least one mobile device – you would probably be hard pressed to name even one person you know who doesn’t own at least a smart phone these days (though some of the older generation still prefer their sturdy older Nokia models).
Still, it’s not entirely fair to expect your employees to purchase their own devices for your benefit, so you can offer to either pay a percentage of the devices’ upfront costs, provide a lump sum to each employee, or reimburse maintenance fees for them.
In return, your employees are allowed to treat these devices as their own, meaning they have absolute privacy, can bring these devices wherever they wish, and can customize them however they want. An Apple fan can use a MacBook, and an Android fan can use a tablet of their choice.
You still save not only in term of hard costs, but productive gains thanks to BYOD.
Introducing greater flexibility in your workplace
Talentculture suggests offering more flexibility in your workplace by identifying duties that can be performed remotely and offering a few hours or days a week for employees to work from home. Online collaboration and remote meetings are more and more common, and BYOD facilitates productive discussions even when your employees are away from the workplace.
Potential security risks are perhaps the greatest deterrents to organisations considering BYOD. Performing a risk assessment will provide a clearer picture, and should help to form a mobile strategy addressing five key areas: clear definition of ownership and responsibilities, device usage policies, device and data lifecycle policies, technology protection mechanisms, and user awareness and education.
Make sure your systems are BYOD-friendly
Have you made it easy for your employees to work remotely? Make sure you have a cloud data storage system that they can access from home or even overseas, at any time of day.
Take your CRM (customer relationship management) on the go too – not only for your sales force, but field service representatives. A mobile-friendly CRM system allows you to update contact details, activities, and pipeline progress straight from your phone or tablet in real time. HubSpot and SAP‘s respective apps provide this ability in intuitive and attractive interfaces.
A comprehensive mobile-friendly ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution even lets you manage all facets of your business out of the office, be it reviewing your financial accounts and delivery documents or issuing quotations. SAP Business One’s mobile app and sales app do more than allow you to handle sales activities straight from your mobile device, you can review your production facilities and vendors as well.
Remote access allows your employees to log into the server from another computer, and browser access provides an even easier way to enter the system. This form of BYOD (allowing access from home via personal devices without needing to haul a laptop back and forth) is probably the most convenient for both parties.
Ultimately, BYOD “will happen whether a company plans for it or not; trying to stand in the path of consumerised mobility is likely to be a damaging and futile exercise“, so you should prepare yourelf for it in order to avoid the risks that come with it, and maximize its benefits.
For more mobile trends in Singapore, check out our recent eCommerce post!
What are your thoughts on BYOD? Are you currently practicing it in your workplace? Leave a comment below or reach out to us by hitting the contact us button on the right!
Download the accompanying infographic on BYOD below.