By Thorsten Trapp, co-founder and CTO, tyntec
The bring your own device (BYOD) concept has been around since 2009 and is now being used by 74% of businesses in the UK. It has helped to further free employees from their desks and stay connected at home or out in the field. But, as mobile phones have become more versatile, the question remains whether the convenience of this approach is being harnessed correctly? Are employees enjoying this increasingly connected world of work, or is more still needed to be done to define the line between the personal and professional?
A closer assessment
According to a recent survey by tyntec, three in ten UK employees use their personal mobile for work related tasks and 13% use both their personal and corporate phones for work. In addition, almost 90% use their mobile phones for work outside of normal business hours.
However, despite using their personal phone for work reasons, most UK employees (81%) would prefer to have either two separate phones or one phone with two numbers so that they can clearly differentiate their personal and corporate communications.
The main drivers for this preference were expressed in concerns over expense reimbursement and privacy. Almost 55% of UK respondents were moderately to extremely concerned about having to pay for business usage on their personal phone bills.
Additionally, 48% of employees who use their personal device for work expressed concern about their employer’s ability to access their private messages. These apprehensions show that employers need to have clear policies in place that take into account worries over privacy and reimbursement.
Why a formal policy?
tyntec’s survey also highlighted that only 18% of UK employees have a formal BYOD policy in place at work. So how are the majority of businesses giving employees peace of mind against shock bills, privacy breaches and work encroaching on personal time? This is where a good corporate mobility policy comes into play. A well-executed BYOD policy can help businesses tackle a range of issues, whilst retaining the flexibility and convenience that employees came to expect.
Drawing the lines of separation
As long as companies are allowing employees to use their own devices, they need to address employee concerns about keeping their personal and business communications distinct. One way for businesses to protect privacy and separate communication channels is to power corporate phone apps with virtual phone numbers.
Having two separate phone numbers in one phone addresses both sides of the BYOD puzzle. IT departments can ensure mobile governance over all work-related communications by using the separate phone numbers as unique identifiers for employees; and employees can use their personal numbers for private communications. All that is required is for employees to install their corporate app enabled with a virtual phone number, and simply switch to the app for work related communications.
More connected and flexible workforce
New technologies have helped to unleash the potential of employee mobility, enabling employees’ greater flexibility in deciding when and where they work.
However, it’s clear that there is a distinct need for organisations to have a strategic BYOD policy in place to ensure that employees are comfortable using their personal devices for work by providing a high level of privacy protection and compensating expenses. This approach symbolises an agile, forward-thinking workplace and in today’s world it is something many employees will expect their organisation to deliver.
Tyntec is a global mobile messaging operator and cloud communications provider.