We are living the the micro moments era. At any point throughout the day you can pull out your phone and buy something, read your emails, or check a fact. We consume and process information in these bits and pieces, and this approach is carried over to the workplace as well. Shifts in how information is processed and consumed, the rise of global offices, and the proliferation of resources being sourced across time zones contributes to this change. In this ‘always on, always connected’ world, an increasing number of employees are using their own devices in the workplace to solve problems and increase productivity. Over 60% of British workers use mobile apps related to work and a quarter of those have department-specific apps, acting to mobilise and streamline daily activities.
This trend is extending out of the office as well; flexi-working is on the rise, and almost half of employees are in contact with their office outside of traditional working hours. 59% of Millennial workers believe that flexible office hours would increase their productivity and output, and remote workers report to be 13% more efficient than those who hold traditional office positions. The awareness that people may work better in these type of environments means that offices are becoming more ‘home-like’, with collaborative working zones, social spaces, and technical innovations to used increase the feeling of connection.
In the Office
Employees using their own devices to do work has numerous benefits. People are comfortable with familiarity, and like to interact with technology in their own way. They like the simplicity that comes with having only one device for work and personal use, as well as the adaptability regardless of environment. This increased flexibility means that there are more opportunities to adapt and innovate. Business can save on the costs associated with providing mobile devices for all their employees, particularly with the accelerated rate of technology changes and device renewal cycle. Over 57% of employees worldwide access corporate data on a personal smartphone or tablet, and as cloud-based platforms become the norm, mobile working is often the best way to connect.
However, while this shift does not come without complications. As more employees are BYOD at work, they expect IT to accommodate them without fully comprehending the steps involved– think about the security issues, infrastructure adjustment, management of expectations, and budgetary considerations.
Security issues in particular surrounding infrastructure and document security and privacy are pertinent issues (to link to other article). Security in Enterprise Data Management and data protection is crucial regardless of device or location. The drawback to employees using their own devices is that there is a much greater chance of a security breach or data compromise. Risk management needs to be a priority, as emerging technologies may not have the capability to perform at enterprise scale. Furthermore, Shadow IT is always a cause for concern in these situations, and in organisations that are using various software and apps to allow for BYOD there are always going to be employees who cannot adjust to the technology changes if not given sufficient support.
Preparation is Essential, Strategy is Key
There is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy or solution for the risks outlined above, but there are strategies you can put in place to circumvent many of them.
To begin, look internally to find out how relevant an issue this is for your organisation. Who are the evangelists of BYOD, and who has apprehensions? Bring in the appropriate parties on all levels in order to ensure that the right policies and procedures can be put in place, and to categorise and justify the devices deemed appropriate for BYOD. It is critical that they are able to be supported by IT. The transparency of the ‘why’ behind this process is essential, to encourage buy-in from your employees and consideration of the steps involved.
Remember, you have options. You aren’t limited to implementing or rejecting ‘BYOD’. Some organisations utilise a Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) solution, and others provide the option for employees to Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). Figure out what fits your needs and infrastructure, what will aid productivity and ultimately, competitive advantage. Have a vision for the future and where you want your company to go. If you decide to implement BYOD (or have already done so), calculate what systems and processes are needed to support the plan, and what you can outsource. Consultants like MPS providers can take care of much of the heavy lifting that comes with these changes.
With security being one of the most important issues to prioritise, MPS and other infrastructure support organisations can be depended on to be at the forefront of the latest security and optimisation measures, there to provide guidance for what devices will be the most secure for any access, sharing, and printing related actions. The evolution of the workplace doesn’t have to be dreaded or difficult, the key is to be informed and strategic about leveraging these changes to suit your needs and vision.