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Leaving Your Employees To Their Own Devices
By Australia


In the modern workplace it’s now a reality that employees will bring along their smartphones, tablets and laptops and not rely solely on their desktop computers and landlines each day.

Australian’s have always been early adopters of technology and a recent Deloitte Consumer Media Survey reports that 81% of Australian’s own a smartphone and 63% a tablet.

Whether it’s our desire to stay in touch with our family and friends via text or on social media, employees are accessing their devices at least once and sometimes several times each day. Oxford University’s recent survey tells us that 53% of Australians also access news with their smartphone and this may be driven by the 24 hour news cycle. 

It appears we are so attached to our technology enforcing a ‘no personal device’ policy in the workplace may be a lost cause. Certainly phone etiquette should be followed – such as phones must be kept on silent and definitely no use of speaker phones in the open office area, should both be mandatory. If you see use of a personal device reduces your employee’s productivity, this should be addressed too.

When it comes to tablets and laptops, employees may be given the choice to use their own devices in the workplace or to take work home and this is where issues may arise.

Security becomes of utmost importance with many employees having access to their workplace mainframe or cloud server. Whether it’s the fear of viruses or non-employees accessing confidential company information, this all needs to be taken into consideration when employees use their own devices. 

Where workplace computers are protected by firewalls and security through software programs, an employee’s device may not have the same level of security. In fact, it just takes an employee working at home on their laptop, with their password written on a sticky note to facilitate access for their housemates. 

Security aside, who is responsible for repairs or replacement on an employee’s personal laptop, tablet or smartphone should something go wrong? Will your IT department (if you have one) be able to work on all the different brands and types of devices?

All of these issues should made clear in your BYOD – Bring Your Own Device policy. 

Your BYOD policy should include elements such as: User responsibilities; Roles and Responsibilities, Prohibited Actions, Physical Security, Password Security, Use of Camera, Data Security, File Sharing, Access and Configuration, Device Management, Provision of Software, Use of the Internet and Damage to devices – just to name a few. 

Don’t forget to ensure part of your policy includes the procedure that takes place when an employee leaves the organisation. Will you need to inspect their devices to ensure all workplace data is removed?

One of the positives when allowing employees to bring their own devices is ease of use. Productivity may be increased by the employee being familiar with their own device. 

Should you wish to take your BYOD strategy further, you may wish to introduce a policy where use of personal devices is welcomed. This may reduce your organisations’ computer capital expenditure, although employees would need be compensated. 

If you are expecting your employee’s to use their own devices, don’t forget to make this clear any candidate interview. This personal expense may be a deciding factor when the successful applicant considers your offer of employment.

If you already have a BYOD policy in place Congratulations! Remember you will need to review your BYOD policy regularly, as the speed of technology change may out outpace your existing policy.