BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) has been one of the most hyped workplace benefits, particularly among technology firms seeking to attract and retain a millennial workforce that is notorious for their blended work-life balance. Jumping on the bandwagon, they envisioned happier, more productive employees as well as a lower spend on company laptops and smartphones. But did their vision become a reality? Not so much. Following are four reasons why BYOD has lost its luster.
Prior to the BYOD buzz, employees often carried two smartphones – one that was company issued and another for personal use. BYOD eliminated the need for two smartphones and often boosted employee satisfaction. Then the lawyers stepped in. In their efforts to protect corporate data on employees’ laptops, tablets and smartphones, they drafted strict BYOD user policies. Laden with legalese, the policies gave companies the right to monitor, access, review and disclose company or other data on a mobile device. Employees became quickly disillusioned with BYOD, citing the lack of respect for their privacy. Some employees who didn’t report a lost or stolen phone right away were fired, further deepening distrust over BYOD.
Privacy concerns surrounding GPS tracking and application inventory
Many employees are peeved by their company’s ability to track their whereabouts at all times – particularly when they slip away to play golf on a Friday afternoon. Nor do they want their supervisors’ to have access to their Weight Watchers app on their smartphone. Thanks to BYOD management software, companies can often glean insights into their employees’ activities – personal and work-related.
While millennials in particular tend to blur the lines between home and work life, companies with BYOD policies often expect their workers to be “always-on.” The unspoken assumption is that employees are on call around the clock – even on weekends and during vacations. This can lead to employee stress and loss of productivity – two factors that BYOD was designed to address. According to a recent survey by TEKsystems, of the 300 IT professionals queried, half of the respondents say the constant mobile connection to work apps, documents and email has increased their level of stress because they feel that they can’t unplug. More than 60 percent admitted that they would prefer to revert back to set working hours with the ability to unplug during personal hours.
BYOD reimbursement models
Employees, companies and their legal teams are closely watching a California Court of Appeal ruling that states: “When employees must use their personal cellphones for work-related calls, Labor Code section 2802 requires the employer to reimburse them. Whether the employees have cellphone plans with unlimited minutes or limited minutes, the reimbursement owed is a reasonable percentage of their cellphone bills.”
The ruling is the first binding one in the BYOD space, causing many CIOs and executives to rethink their BYOD policies.
While BYOD’s popularity may be declining, there is an emergence of “shadow BYOD”, where employees use their personal devices for work purposes in stealth mode. This circumventing of policies not only gives IT leaders headaches, but also increases the risk of corporate data being leaked. Those CIOs who had previously adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding BYOD may be forced to create and enforce formal policies with questionable results.
Have you created or implemented a BYOD policy? Share your experiences with us!