Pros and Cons of a BYOD Policy for Frontline Employees

09 April 2021

Operations | News & trends | Employee Experience

You might have seen supermarkets jumping on the self-scanning trend in which customers can download an app to their phone which scans the barcodes of their groceries as they shop. Customers are able to pack their bags as they go, instantly see how much each item adds to their total, and whiz through the checkout when they’re done. Ultimate efficiency achieved.

Meanwhile in restaurants, COVID has led to a similar tech trend with many establishments allowing customers to use their mobile devices to view the menu, place their order and pay, minimizing the potential for disease transmission. 

With companies developing mobile features so that customers can use their mobile devices for a more efficient and appealing experience, the time is ripe to ask, why are they not making the same investment for frontline employees? A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in the workplace might be the key to maximizing frontline employee engagement.

Don’t be fooled, BYOD has been growing in popularity. However 61% of companies are yet to implement a BYOD policy of their own. There’s a lot of factors for employers to weigh up when considering a BYOD policy for frontline employees, so we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to establish whether Bringing Your Own Device is right for you.

Pros:

BYOD makes a company more attractive to top talent

A policy that encourages employees to use their mobile devices in the workplace will attract and retain top talent. This is crucial for industries with notoriously high turnover of employees like retail and hospitality. Investing in a BYOD approach demonstrates a brand’s commitment to keeping up with the pace of digitization, which is crucial as the coming years will see Millenials and Gen Z dominate the workforce. 93% of Millennials agree that technology is a top factor when choosing a future workplace and, being digital natives, Gen Z jobseekers are drawn to tech-savvy employers. 

A BYOD policy also helps employees to feel more connected to their company. With the right software, mobile devices can enable instant communication between employees at all levels of the company to share relevant information, give feedback, discuss interesting topics and recognize high performers. 76% of frontline employees state that they would feel more connected to their company if they could access company communications on a mobile device. When an employee feels connected to their company, they’re more likely to feel fulfilled in their role and be retained by their employer.

BYOD saves time

When employees can use their mobile devices to instantly retrieve information, they have more time for higher value tasks like helping customers. It’s far more efficient to whip out your mobile phone to find information than it is to wait for the one iPad in the store to become available to use. The average employee saves 58 minutes a day by using their personal devices at work, which means more time to learn new skills and invest in customers. 

Employees who can use personal devices at work are able to save even more time when companies invest in a digital workplace. Digital workplace tools enable workers to streamline task management and effectively prioritize. They’ll have all the information they need at their fingertips so don’t have to waste time looking for it. Using one platform to manage all tasks is far more efficient than switching between different devices, documents, stacks of paper and apps. 

BYOD improves customer experience

Mobile devices can also enable workers to access bitesize training on the job, enabling them to learn as they go and continuously improve their skill set. 70% of frontline employees think app-based learning on a personal device would be easier than traditional training courses. This approach makes learning accessible, as employees are able to complete training on a device they are familiar with rather than taking time to get to grips with a company device they’re not used to. Sending training directly to employees’ mobile phones means that they can access it any time and are more likely to complete it.

A microlearning approach would mean that when an employee is on the job and can’t remember a particular process or piece of equipment, they would use an app on their device to read bitesize instructions or watch a short video demonstrating what to do. This training style delivers the right information at the frontline employee’s point of need, encouraging autonomy. Well-trained, engaged employees provide a better customer experience and are more likely to keep customers coming back.

Related: 5 Reasons Workplace Training Is Failing Frontline Employees

BYOD saves money

The vast majority of frontline workers own mobile devices which they use for almost every aspect of their lives, so taking advantage of these in the workplace should be a no-brainer. As employees are responsible for the repair and maintenance of their own personal devices, expenses are saved on hardware costs and tech support. Cisco Consulting Services found that when properly implemented, BYOD can create an annual average value of $1,650 per employee.

Additionally, using BYOD for task management, communications and on the job training improves employee productivity and fulfilment, which makes them more likely to stay with a company. Replacing employees is a costly business; replacing a hospitality employee typically costs an employer up to $13,000, rocketing to $19,700 for a customer service representative. By investing in a BYOD policy, employers can save a fortune in employee retention costs.

 

Cons

Is BYOD a security risk?

72% of businesses state that data protection is their top concern around employees using their personal devices for work. Many employers worry that having company info on personal devices could result in data leaks if devices are lost, stolen or hacked. But when we look at the bigger picture, these risks are already present. 

Employees already use their personal devices to socialize with colleagues, communicate things like shift changes, and ask work-related questions through apps like Facebook and Whatsapp. This carries major risks to data security - if an employee leaves the company but keeps their email address and phone number, they still have access to private company communications and data. Similarly, if an employee’s phone was stolen, work-related information could easily be accessed and taken advantage of.

Related: 3 Reasons Not To Use Whatsapp

It’s far safer for employees to communicate by signing into a professional app with a work email address than using their personal social media accounts. A professional app keeps sensitive data secure and accessible only to current employees. Implementing a BYOD policy and investing in an app specifically for these communications will regulate risks and avoid data breaches.

BYOD Legal concerns 

A poorly planned BYOD initiative can land a company in hot water with the law. Employers may be worried about potential legal issues surrounding BYOD, such as data breaches or employees working outside of their contracted hours. Businesses in industries such as manufacturing may also have health and safety concerns about using mobile devices in a workspace where machinery is operated or heavy lifting takes place.

The best protection against these problems is for employers to enforce a BYOD policy which addresses potential legal loopholes before issues arise. For example, YOOBIC’s software includes a built-in legal waiver which employees must agree to the terms and conditions of before accessing the app. This waiver is fully customizable, so companies can tailor it to their company policies and risks to ensure that all bases are covered.

BYOD compromises the work/life balance

A healthy workplace culture is paramount to any good employer. So allowing employees to literally take their work home with them via a personal device can sound like a red flag. But the facts indicate that employees are already using their personal devices on the job. Fortune found that more than half of employees ages 21-31 said that if their employer banned the use of personal devices at work they would find a way to use them anyway. 

A designated digital workplace and BYOD policy would actually establish clearer boundaries between personal and professional screen time. Switching off work notifications when clocking out (and personal notifications off when clocking in) is a great way to maintain balance.

Overall, with the right planning, software and management, BYOD is a brilliant option for businesses wanting to adapt to the digital age. The stats speak for themselves - BYOD fuels productivity, saves money and accelerates growth.

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How can you track down the software that’s going to make BYOD a reality for your business? Find out how YOOBIC can digitally connect your workforce, achieve collaborative team training and improve operations - whether you decide to go the BYOD or company device route. 

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