How companies are handling the popularity of bringing your own device into the workplace.
Technology is moving along at a breakneck pace, faster than we could have ever imagined just five or 10 years ago. From a world of landline phones and desktop computers to one filled with cell phones and easily transportable tablets, this changes the workplace, too.
There is no question that these devices make it simpler for us to surf the web or update our latest social media status, but a work environment is a whole other ball game. As a matter of fact, some local personnel of major corporations find that the new BYOD boom affects their work efficiency immensely.
And just what is the BYOD boom? It stands for Bring Your Own Device, specifically in an office or business environment. In many workplaces, the company provides their employees with standard devices: laptop computer, a BlackBerry or iPhone, maybe even a new tablet specifically for work purposes. But other companies are forgoing that trend, instead allowing employees to “bring their own devices” to work, in order to work more quickly and efficiently.
One of these companies is Car-Tel Communications, which sells phones and data plans to businesses. Assistant director Lindsey DeMarco says that their associates, particularly their sales representatives, often use their own cell phones or tablets in order to do business.
“It is critical for many customers to see how a phone or other product works in real time,” says DeMarco. “To be able to connect personal devices to the various services we offer allows our sales reps to give a better experience to the customer.”
But this convenience doesn’t come without risks. Unfortunately, we live in a society where credit card hacking and identity theft are commonplace, creating certain uneasiness when it comes to a company’s security. That is why many large corporations, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, have taken precautions when it comes to security measures. Bed, Bath & Beyond IT director Charles Marcus explains that though the company is lenient on the BYOD inclination, there are certain restrictions.
“Employees within the company are allowed to bring their cell phones and tablets to connect to the company’s Wi-Fi, but are limited as to what they can access,” he says. “The server doesn’t allow direct connections to certain data and information so, in result, there really aren’t any security issues.”
The allowing of personal devices in the work area appears to have an effect on cost, as well. While the dangers of leaking company information are real, corporations are spending excessively to avoid it. To prevent the misuse of company documentation and information, companies invest in providing their employees with secondary devices. For example, while one may have a personal iPhone, their corporation may provide them with a BlackBerry for work purposes only—creating a curtain between their social and professional lives.
DeMarco, however, views the BYOD trend as a money-saving measure, one that benefits both company and employees—and ultimately, the consumer.
“From our perspective, BYOD allows business owners to have the connectivity with their employees that they’re looking for without having to break the bank and purchase all new devices,” she says. “Plus, from the employee’s perspective, carrying around two phones or two tablets is a hassle and if everything can be centralized in one device then it’s an obvious choice.”
While there are admittedly concerns regarding productivity due to the leniency of non-work related abilities on devices, DeMarco asserts, “If you have a hardworking and trustworthy staff, you shouldn’t have this problem.”
The convenience of BYOD has also assisted many companies in managing a balanced work ethic despite real world changes. There is no way of predicting when a situation may change, making it challenging to get work done. For instance, Marcus says interchangeable devices have affected the work production of the company in a positive, influential way.
“It is definitely a smart business move,” says Marcus. “We have an employee who is about to start maternity leave, but would like to continue working from home. With her portable devices, she can access her email and necessary contacts without missing a beat.”
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 4, Issue 9 (September, 2014).
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