THE TREND OF BRINGING YOUR OWN DEVICES (BYOD) TO THE WORKPLACE HAS BEEN WIDELY ADOPTED IN THE UNITED STATES AND RAPIDLY INCREASING IN POPULARITY IN AUSTRALIA. ITS POPULARITY IS LARGELY DUE TO ITS PERCEIVED COST-SAVING BENEFITS WITH MANY ORGANISATIONS CHOOSING TO OFFER EMPLOYEES AN ALLOWANCE TO BUY THEIR OWN DEVICES TO USE IN THE WORKPLACE.
For many organisations, this brings the end of expensive company-wide technology purchases and the end of IT departments enforcing a company-wide technology standard. This is a popular trend amongst employees, as companies no longer dictate whether a Mac person uses a PC or vice versa. This concept seems to offer significant cost savings but does it in reality? If you look deeper into implementing this concept in your organisation, you will notice that there are many potential costs that you may not have thought of.
“The usual cost of configuring a device to work in a corporate environment remains; however there are other considerations for organisations to keep in mind when adopting this concept. These costs involve ensuring that the devices comply with occupational health and safety requirements such as the length of time employees spend on a device,” commented Kareem Tawansi, CEO of software development provider, Solentive Software.
To ensure that employees comply with such requirements, organisations need to develop comprehensive policies regarding usage of an employee’s own device in the workplace.
“Then there is the cost of corporate software licensing that will undoubtedly attract additional costs due to the range of devices and operating systems being utilised,” added Kareem.
There is also the concern of regular maintenance on the devices and ultimately, who is deemed responsible. Thought needs to be put towards what would happen if an employee has forgotten to bring their device to work, if their device has broken, contracted a virus or if they have lost it. These considerations pose a potentially damaging effect to productivity as well as a potential security and privacy risk to the organisation. Furthermore, organisations offering an allowance to employees to fund their own devices, need to take note that they will also be subject to a Fringe Benefits Tax.
Organisations need to have a clear thought process before adopting popular emerging trends, including any potential legal and operational ramifications should things go wrong.