When comparing expectations and realities for BYOD, at some point, you must consider its impact on employees. After all, they’re the driving force behind BYOD, and they’re not doing this to make you happy. Employee satisfaction can take many forms, and the better you understand what this looks like, the more successful your Unified Communications deployment will be. This article provides some core examples of what to look for as well as false assumptions you’ll want to avoid.
Expectations for Making Employees Happy
The first thing to consider is that employees will welcome not having to carry separate mobile devices for personal and business use. Combining these needs on one device simplifies things, and by extension, this should make it easier for them to use UC in mobile situations. Employees definitely value the convenience of mobility, but are frustrated by limited options for being productive while on the go. Mobile UC applications address that need, so when you can support that on the devices employees like to use, they should be happier.
Related to this is the expectation that employees will be more responsive and accessible. Businesses naturally strive for this, especially when it comes to customer-facing communication.
Employees that embrace a customer-centric culture will definitely be happier in this regard, and for them, UC will be a game-changer. Businesses that rely on a legacy communications infrastructure often struggle with the wasted time caused by missed calls, voicemail, phone tag, email tag, lost emails, group messaging, meeting invites, etc. Much of this goes away when employees remain in touch wherever they go, and UC can help reduce the stress that comes with these shortcomings.
Conversely, employees will also have access to personal data at work via their preferred device. Employees tend to minimize personal data activity at their desks, since the larger PC screens are less private and visible to others. Some companies may encourage this to support work/life balance, but most would rather see employees focus solely on their jobs while at the office. BYOD alleviates this by providing more privacy so employees can manage both modes without drawing undo attention.
Reality May Be Quite Different
The above expectations may well hold up, in which case BYOD will indeed, make for happier employees. That is certainly your intention, and from there, good things are bound to happen with UC. Countering this, however, are some realities which may have unintended consequences.
Let’s start with the convenience of carrying one device. Only true geeks would notwant this, but the flip side is that now employees are responsible around the clock for a device that stores and/or has access to company information. In this regard, employees may feel some loss of freedom in that their work is always with them, which means they are expected to be always available. These responsibilities and expectations come with the BYOD territory, and while they serve the needs of the business well, employees will not have any joy about being virtually tethered to work at all times.
On the UC front, there is the issue of limited adoption of mobile applications. Ultimately, businesses support BYOD to keep employees productive while on the go, and UC is a big part of that. When employees have mobile access to the same collaboration tools as on their desktop, they will be happier since employers are now supporting them in their preferred mode for working.
The reality, however, has fallen short in that mobile UC applications have not gained much traction, and they are not that easy to use. Some of this is rooted in the UC offerings, but some is based on your network’s ability to properly support mobile UC. If employees can’t get much work done in mobile settings, they may have second thoughts about BYOD, which will also undermine your investment in UC.
Finally, there is the risk that personal data stored on mobile devices could be compromised at work. When employees have everything on these devices, problems become amplified. If employees are accessing personal data over a public WiFi connection – either in the office or elsewhere, it could become compromised by hackers who can easily break into their devices. Similarly, if the device is somehow connected to other devices or peripherals – such as for charging or updating files – employees could unknowingly import malware or viruses.
Whether being hacked for recreational content such as music, videos or photos – or for serious personal data such ID or banking information, these possibilities must be considered with BYOD. Of course, the business must also consider scenarios when the problems flow the other way, namely if the employee’s device is carrying malware or viruses, and these find their way on to your network via the example cited above.
Regardless, while the expectation of better work/life balance should make employees happy with BYOD, there are many scenarios where that objective produces the opposite results. While this shouldn’t deter you from BYOD, you need to see that both parties have to play active roles to get the desired results. For our team we have deployed for sales force and our head technicians.