BYOD: Technology, Employers & Employees

In the light of the recent Ofcom 2015 Communications Market Review (CMR) it is apparent that in today’s world it seems there is now no clear separation between business and personal communications.

The emergence of near ubiquitous connectivity and the plethora of mobile devices available are eroding the boundaries between work and leisure.

Having just digested the findings of the recent Ofcom CMR we asked Thorsten Trapp, Co-Founder and CTO of tyntec his opinions on the tech trends enhancing the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture, current employee attitudes to BYOD, and the employee concerns that IT departments should address.

The technologies driving change

The widespread availability and use of smartphones along with new devices such as the Apple Watch have made it even easier for employees to make use of their personal technology within the workplace.

In addition, IDC forecasts that the number of app downloads is expected to rise to almost 270 billion by 2017. In turn, businesses are beginning to design mobile apps themselves in order to provide employees with work-related tools that can be used on their personal devices.

However, although technology can help foster BYOD convenience, greater productivity and stronger customer relationships, establishing true business mobility is not as simple as it may seem. Employees have their concerns when it comes to keeping their personal and professional lives separate and employers must consider these in order to maintain a happy workforce.

BYOD: The Personal and Corporate Divide

According to a recent survey by tyntec, three in ten UK employees use their personal mobile for work related tasks and 13% use both their personal and corporate phones for work. In addition, almost 90% use their mobile phones for work outside of normal business hours.

However, despite using their personal phone for work reasons, most UK employees (81%) would prefer to have either two separate phones or one phone with two numbers so that they can clearly differentiate their personal and corporate communications.

The main drivers for this preference were expressed in concerns over reimbursement and privacy. Almost 55% of UK respondents were moderately to extremely concerned about having to pay for business usage on their phone bills. Additionally, 48% of employees who use their personal device for work expressed concern about their employer’s ability to access their private messages.

These concerns show that whilst employees want to use their personal devices for work, employers need to have clear policies in place that take into account worries over privacy and reimbursement.

Implementing a successful enterprise mobility strategy

Surprisingly, only 18% of UK employees said that the company they work for has a formal BYOD policy in place. However, with use of personal devices very much the new norm, enterprises need to embrace sound device usage polices in order to eliminate security concerns and help make employees more comfortable with finding their own work-life balance.

A good corporate mobility strategy should focus on tackling a range of issues, some of which will be very specific to the individual organisation and the way its employees work on a day-to-day basis. As long as companies are allowing employees to use their own devices, they need to address employee concerns in their strategy and implementations.

With UK employees concerned about keeping their personal and business comms distinct, one way for businesses to address privacy and separate communication channels is to power corporate phone apps with virtual phone numbers. This addresses both sides of the BYOD puzzle. IT departments can ensure mobile governance over all communication devices by using the separate phone numbers as unique identifiers for employees and employees are granted separation. All that is required is for employees to install their corporate app enabled with a virtual phone number, and simply switch to the app for work related communications.

A symbol of the new workforce

New technologies have helped to unleash the potential of employee mobility while having access to corporate communications on a personal device, helping employees to be even more productive.

However, it’s clear that there is a need for organisations to have a clear BYOD policy in place to ensure that employees are comfortable using their personal devices for work.

This approach symbolises an agile, forward-thinking workplace and in today’s world it will be something many employees will expect their organisations to deliver.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine