A key part of a collaborative and mobile workforce comes from allowing employees to use their own devices for work purposes (BYOD). Whilst the acceptance of BYOD into larger companies was slow,it is now a common occurrence in modern working practices for businesses of all sizes. That said, personal devices are still often banned from the workplace for reasons ranging from compliance, through to data security or simply employer’s preference.
There is a growing appetite from all employees to be able to work flexibly. Whether that’s having flexible start and finish times, or working from home or elsewhere. Banning employees from using their personal devices for work purposes (instead, equipping them with company-owned devices), is holding back this shift to fully flexible working.
Modern working practices
Whilst it’s a common belief that millennials are the generation driving the flexible ‘work from anywhere’ culture, new research of 2,300 UK workers conducted by Census wide for TeleWare reveals that nine in ten (89%)employees from all age groups find it important to choose the hours they work and where from.
There’s an expectation from employees to be able to dictate their own schedule within their working day. To help them to do so, today’s employees want flexibility and modernity in the tools they use at work. Ideally, their own devices. Three quarters (75%) of employees have corporate devices provided by employers. Yet these corporate tools may not always have the same operating system in place that employees are used to and are confident using. And may not also have their preferred apps. Putting up barriers that stifle productivity or personal contribution, such as banning the use of personal devices in the workplace, are unwelcome.
UK workers use mobile technology for almost a third (31%) of their working day, according to TeleWare’s research. Given the amount of time employees spend on their mobile devices, it is easy to see why BYOD benefits both employees and businesses.
That said, employees’ biggest concern when it comes to using their own device for work is work interfering with their personal time. Having work related apps and emails on their personal device exacerbates the ‘always on’ culture that technology has helped to create. In turn, TeleWare’s research also found than more than six in ten employees (61%) have had their weekend interrupted by work, whilst over half (53%) have had holidays interrupted.
Employees argue that being interrupted outside of work – in particular, on their commute -by work demands, be that taking calls or replying to emails, should be classified as work time. A study conducted by the University of West England found that 54% of commuters using the train’s wi-fi were sending work emails.Furthermore, those on the way to work were catching up with emails sent ahead of the coming day – while those on the return journey were finishing off work not completed during regular working hours.
Finding the right balance
Recent years have seen a number of apps and software introduced to help employees work flexibly, whilst also allowing them to switch off and divert their work communications to colleagues on demand. This software includes Dual-SIMs (eSim). Whilst these aren’t new to the market, Apple announced that one of the new features of the iPhone XS and XS Max is dual-SIM support,bringing them back into the spotlight.
Dual-SIMS allow users to separate their personal and business calls by having a personal number and unique number which can be used for work purposes on one device. For employees, this allows users to divert their business communications when they’re not working. For businesses, it ensures employees still have the tools they need to do their job from anywhere.
Overall, BYOD is an essential component to many progressive flexible working policies.New technology is changing the way we work at such a rapid rate and the introduction of apps that give its users a second number, such as Re:Call from TeleWare, are providing employees and employers with more choice than ever before.