What are the impacts of using personal devices in the professional sphere?

Using your own phone, tablet or laptop for work is increasingly common. This phenomenon is called Bring Your Own Device – or BYOD – and it is now a trend that many employers are embracing.

Not long ago, most companies were reluctant to embrace BYOD because of the risks it brings, such as lack of data security, confusion between professional and personal spheres and a lack of interoperability between personal devices and corporate infrastructure.

Companies now realise the opportunities of BYOD and invite their employees to use their own devices to foster communication and improve productivity.

BYOD supports employee engagement

The priority for companies now is to optimise BYOD so that the business benefits while the individual makes productivity gains. An American study showed that employees using their own personal devices at work increased their productivity by 37 minutes per week average.

BYOD revolutionises internal communication

The BYOD phenomenon also has an impact on how companies communicate internally.

Thanks to the utilisation of personal devices, it’s now possible to communicate more efficiently with all collaborators, especially during internal events. Participants can be contacted directly, before a conference or a seminar – or even invited into an active meeting using their smartphone, laptop or tablet.

BYOD can ease interactions between collaborators and foster greater employee engagement.

Controlling BYOD risks

If the advantages of BYOD are important, this crossover between personal tools and professional applications has certain risks that must be considered:

  • Security remains the main challenge: the company’s data and network security are key factors with BYOD
  • Technical challenges, such as difficulties connecting to the WiFi and accessing network resources (such as shared files or printers)
  • Compatibility of devices, file formats and operating systems

These risks are important to consider as the number of connected devices is increasing. There were 2.5 billion connected devices in 2009, and this figure should reach close to 30 billion in 2020 according to a study from Gartner. And the list of connected objects is growing with the development of new wearable technology like glasses and smart watches.

Has your business embraced BYOD? What challenges have you faced – and how have you overcome them? Have you found that the benefits of BYOD outweigh the risks?

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