The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is the biggest technology issue facing today’s workplaces. Today’s employees are simply more comfortable working on their own mobile devices. And, the trend isn’t going away. Employers can either embrace it or get left behind as their employees jump ship for companies that have BYOD programs in place. Most employers are choosing the latter option, with more than 50 percent of employers expected to have a BYOD program by 2017. BYOD programs do change a work environment, however. Implement BYOD in your own business so employees easily understand the rules:
1. Let Employees Know What Responsibilities BYOD Will Put on Them
BYOD programs make employees responsible and even liable for some things that were previously on the employer. Make employees aware of the legal implications for them in implementing BYOD before starting the program to make sure they still want it after knowing the details. Some areas in which employees may be liable with BYOD are:
Employment Law: If employees are using their devices outside of working hours to do work, they may run afoul of overtime laws or even child labor laws regarding the number of allowable hours of work a week if they are minors in high school.
Data Protection: Make it clear to employees what their legal responsibilities are regarding the protection of company data, proprietary information, data security and confidentiality when they work on their own devices.
2. Provide a Clearly Outlined BYOD Policy for the Workplace to All Employees
This is essential before beginning any BYOD program. Management and the IT department must develop a set of guidelines for the program ahead of time so employees will know from the start what the rules are.
Some things that should be a part of any set of guidelines for a BYOD program include:
- A list of the types of devices that will be allowed. Some companies adopting BYOD only allow one type of device, such as the business-friendly Blackberry. Other companies allow only Apple or Android products. Still others allow any kind of device.
- Information on whether it is ever acceptable to use open connections rather than encrypted ones.
- A description of password regulations. Most companies using BYOD require devices to have passwords so unauthorized people can’t access company data. Let employees know how complex passwords must be and whether the IT department will have access to everyone’s passwords.
- Procedures to follow to protect data if a device is lost or stolen.
- Clear information on whether the employer is ever allowed to monitor employee use of their devices. If monitoring is allowed, when it is allowed must be explained.
- Procedures for managers to gain access to company information on the devices of employees who leave the company.
- A plan for how financial compensation to employees for work use of their personal devices will be handled.
3. Hold a Training Session So Everyone is On the Same Page
This is a simple but essential step of moving toward Bring Your Own Device. Once your company has decided to adopt it and has a set of rules and regulations in place for its use, a company-wide, in-person training session should be held so employees can find out all about the details of the program and get a chance to ask any questions right off the bat. It will make the transition to BYOD so much easier on everyone and increase the chances of success of the program.