Do Mobile Devices Sweeten Sales, or Crush Employee Productivity?

b2ap3_thumbnail_smartphone_questions_400.jpgWe’re all aware of how the proliferation of mobile devices is changing the workplace, but let’s take an objective look at this trend. Are mobile devices changing the workplace for the better? Are employees actually using their personal devices to get more work done? Or, is the BYOD trend a bunch of hype and nothing’s really changed? Let’s find out.

An employee’s personal device is loaded with productivity apps. It has the potential to streamline their workday and improve communications and collaboration with coworkers. However, an employee’s smartphone or tablet also comes loaded with apps like YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, and all the other wonderful distractions of the Internet.

Additionally, these devices can have games, which essentially turn them into portable game consoles similar to a Nintendo 3DS or Playstation Vita. As an employer, you would be quick to ban an employee from using their Gameboy at their desk. Likewise, a worker with Candy Crush on their smartphone is just as bad.

Take for example a report by the Evolving Workforce Research that found:

Nearly 60 percent of employees feel work would be more enjoyable if they had a say in the technologies they used, while 60 percent feel they would be more productive with better IT resources (like BYOD).

It’s statistics like this that mobile device manufacturers love to latch onto in order to move their product under the guise of “These devices will make your staff more productive.” But if you look closely at this statistic, it says that 60 percent of employees feel like they would be more productive if they were allowed to use a device of their choosing.

Having a productivity tool and using said tool for productivity are two completely different things. How many of us purchased a sweet piece of exercise equipment because we felt like it would improve our health, but after we got it assembled it ended up being used as a coat rack?

BYOD works the same way. Just because an employee has every intention to bring their device into work for the purpose of being more productive, doesn’t mean they won’t get distracted by the device because they're stuck on level fifteen of Candy Crush Saga.

When you peel back the layers of feelings and good intentions associated with BYOD, you’ll discover studies where increased levels of productivity are actually seen. Like this one from Cisco:

BYOD-ers save an average of 37 minutes per week with BYOD as it is currently implemented in their companies. The United States leads by far in terms of current productivity gains per BYOD user, with 81 minutes per week, followed by the United Kingdom at 51 minutes. In both of these countries, BYOD-ers posted impressive gains by working more efficiently and being more available to their colleagues and managers.

With this study, we seem to be getting somewhere by having hard proof that BYOD actually improves employee productivity by freeing up precious minutes every week. Okay, now here’s the million dollar question: Will an employee use these extra minutes afforded to them by BYOD to get more work done for your company? Or, will they say to themselves, “Alright! Now I’ve got extra time to put towards Candy Crush!”

One aspect of BYOD that every business owner needs to be aware of is the fact that increasing the number of devices in your office will increase the number of network access points needing to be managed. Therefore, increased security measures must accompany the implication of BYOD for your business, which is an effort that may or may not offset the productivity gained by these mobile devices.

In the same way that BYOD requires extra oversight of your company’s network security, BYOD requires additional policies and protections put into place to ensure that your employees are using their personal devices to crush your company’s bottom line, instead of candy.

If you think that implementing BYOD will give your company the boost in productivity and employee morale that you need, then reach out to us at 603-889-0800 to create for your company an airtight BYOD policy that will both keep your systems secure and your employees on task.

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