by Roger Bjork

Does BYOD Produce Workaholics?

Oct 21, 20143 mins
MobileSmall and Medium Business

Perhaps, but the real question is whether employees are happier

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There is a lot of discussion about whether employees who are allowed to use their BYO devices end up working more hours, but I think the more important question is whether they are happier.

When Dell Software launched its first BYOD pilot program, we wanted to have a couple thousand employees on it. The desire to join was so great, we had all the sign-ups we needed in just a few hours. In the face of this demand for BYOD, if workers choose to check their email or work on documents outside their normal workday, then BYOD becomes a win-win for employees and the company (not to mention the potential for BYOD to dramatically enhance existing business processes).

Productivity enhancements are oftentimes challenged with basic change management issues. But when BYOD is done right, it is a win-win for both IT and for end users. IT groups get to provide tools that make employees more productive, line of business owners become more competitive and users can use their device of choice to get tasks done more efficiently while better balancing work and personal lives.

For example, on a recent business trip, in one afternoon I used my BYO device to check my business email, make business calls using the corporate contact list, browse for information during a meeting, pay for lunch using a personal app and take a call from my daughter regarding my tux for her wedding. Great productivity and great work-life balance.

Still, if BYOD is generally leading to a longer workday, then it’s important to make sure employees have a fair balance. This is why we are seeing BYOD legislation cropping up around the world. France recently passed a law limiting the ability of employees to work on BYO devices after hours, while California recently passed a law to make sure employees with BYO devices get reimbursed for plan minutes used for business calls.

While legislation will likely continue, it has the potential to inhibit BYOD adoption unless the deployment strategy makes it possible to accurately support the desired outcomes.

This gets us back to doing BYOD right, and it’s another reason to adopt a “secure workspace” approach. Then, all business content is stored in a separate application that is installed on each BYO device. IT controls and monitors the secure workspace, and can wipe it (but not employees’ personal information) if necessary. The secure workspace can even include a separate business phone line that connects over the Internet, so all business calls can be tracked and the associated minutes won’t be charged to an employee’s personal account.

All the benefits of a single device, all the compliance capabilities a business needs and all the security that IT demands.

That should make everyone in the company just a little bit happier.