We have officially become a society of connected workers. Pew Research indicates that 95% of mid-career employees in the U.S own smartphones. Three out of four adults have laptops, and tablet usership isn't far behind.

These statistics make a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture not just feasible for employers, but a smart idea. The trick to feeling confident and not concerned about BYOD is for leaders to take charge of the situation instead of allowing it to just happen.

The rise of the BYOD workplace

Chances are strong that if you checked, you'd find out many of your team members already use personal devices to do work. Being able to type on the laptop you're used to or save business contacts on your own phone makes everything easier. And if your business is still in its infancy, employees bringing their own devices to work can lower overhead and capital costs because you don't have to make huge outlays on technology. Your company can pay for cloud-based platforms and then grant access or deny access at will, saving on new equipment investments.

To be sure, allowing personnel to bring in laptops and tablets can become a headache if the practice isn't well managed. And a BYOD culture without proper security protocols could make your company data more vulnerable. Hesitant to endorse BYOD in your business, as are 33% of companies, according to Kaspersky research? You'll be happy to learn that bringing BYOD out of the shadows tends to hold people accountable and give them the knowledge they need to lessen security risks.

How do you establish a BYOD culture? Want more assistance in developing a BYOD policy? Keep these principles in mind.

1. BYOD policies should outline all parties' expectations.

Everyone must be on the same page when it comes to personal device use. Bring about understanding by developing a BYOD policy with the help of individuals from IT, administration, risk management, human resources, and other pertinent departments. Each representative can help flesh out the policy based on his or her expertise. When building out the policy, ensure it is all-encompassing to protect the business. Make plans to recover or destroy company documents, images, etc. should a device get lost or stolen or an employee leaves the company or upgrades his or her device.

Once you have your BYOD policy in place, train all staff on the policy and what it means for them. At your inaugural meeting, talk about what types of devices are acceptable, specify when each party controls the device, and consider how cellular data overcharges will be addressed.

2. BYOD policies should not be used to blur work-home lines.

A BYOD culture could make some team members feel as if they are expected to work more often outside of work hours. After all, if the device you work on comes home with you each day, you could feel pressure to respond to its every buzz or ping. Obviously, too much of this can lead to stress and burnout--and the last thing your office needs are folks who feel overwhelmed. Gallup figures show 67% of workers are sometimes, always, or occasionally stressed out. Don't let your BYOD culture make it worse. Regularly check in with employees to see whether they're "feeling the burn."

Keeping the lines of communication open will help everyone identify concerns before they grow to be bigger issues. For instance, are certain supervisors abusing the BYOD policy to force more work out of their teams? That's something you need to know before risking the loss of talented performers to burnout.

3. BYOD policies should address all security concerns.

It only takes one piece of malware to infect a server or a single cyber-attack to cause a public outcry, both of which can occur if your BYOD policy isn't airtight. A key aspect of securing BYOD workplaces is implementing an identity management system, according to iCorps Technologies, a full-service IT consulting and outsourcing firm. These solutions offer a high-level overview and user-by-user controls, giving only essential parties access to sensitive data, thereby reducing "the likelihood of accidental alterations, data loss, or misuse by current or former employees."

Security isn't just for organizations, though. At the other end of the security, discussion are workers who want assurance that their privacy will remain respected. Consequently, your BYOD policy should address and relieve this apprehension by laying out protocols in the event that data needs to be retrieved for litigation or wiped if the employee exits the company for any reason.

Instead of allowing BYOD to happen by chance, take control of its evolution and impact on your business. By staying ahead of this work world trend, you can capitalize on its benefits and minimize any worries.

Published on: Jun 9, 2019
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