As a project manager, you shouldn’t be stunned to find out that your team members are actively using their smartphones for work. Some may check and answer their emails before going to bed in the evening; some may save a few documents to their smartphones to read them on the commute. Probably, the blurred line between work and personal life makes even you tackle some of your office issues through a personal device.
Aftermaths of Unregulated Use of Personal Devices
On the one hand, you can’t forbid your staff to stay involved with their work via the gadgets of their choice. On the other hand, unregulated and excessive use of personal devices for work is full of serious hazards:
- The number-one risk is about enterprise data privacy. Each time an employee interacts with corporate data via their personal device, a business faces a risk of malware injection. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks and weak passwords might result in an infected device or data leakage, to name a few consequences.
- If your employee checks their work email whenever he or she goes or occasionally gets down to a work task from home, legal pitfalls is another issue to be wary of. In case you stay ignorant of this tendency and don’t pay for remote work outside business hours, the employee might sue you. The bad news is that the law will be likely on the employee’s side: the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay non-exempt workers extra for any time spent on work beyond 40 regular hours a week.
BYOD: Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Luckily, these hazards don’t hit all companies: applying a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy is usually a well-placed prevention method for the aftermaths listed above. Indeed, in case you suspect your team is developing a habit of using their smartphones for work, there will be no better time for bringing BYOD to your office.
However, before starting BYOD, it’s vital to allocate enough time for discussing this with your team. After all, it’s them who will be mostly influenced by this innovation, so making the process as smooth and understandable as possible should top your list of priorities.
Below, you will find three major tips on what you should discuss with your employees before BYOD becomes a reality in your team. These issues ring true for any enterprise and are surely not to be bypassed while trying to put employees on the board of BYOD.
1. Discuss Employees’ Opinion
If you’re seriously determined to bring BYOD to your office, get ready for the dialog with your team: think over your staff’s probable questions and prepare to give well-informed answers. The best tip here is to make up a template of the BYOD policy in advance to be all set for any questions raised by your team.
However, before moving to the discussion of particular BYOD aspects, ask your employees how they feel about the program in general. Explain why your company needs it and draw their special attention to all the consequences of unregulated use of their personal devices at work.
At this stage, it’s crucial to acknowledge all the concerns your staff might have. In case some of your employees are uneasy about their private data safety or any other aspect of BYOD, note it down and get ready to explain, now or later, how BYOD brings improvement while not harming anyone.
2. Discuss Employees’ Privacy
In practice, what really bothers employees facing BYOD is their personal data privacy—and these worries don’t come up without reason. BYOD implies that managers would watch how corporate data is used on employees’ own devices. This means employers would inevitably get access to certain personal data, which might sound disturbing to employees.
A Legal System on Guard of Employee Privacy
Today’s reality is somewhat different, though—using or browsing through employees’ private information is both illegal and hardly possible, and your team needs to know that.
First, most of the US states severely punish employers’ attempts to peek into their staff’s personal data. In case a business is active on the territory of Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) touches on employee’s information protection as well. Having come into effect in May 2018, GDPR requires employers to be open and honest about the use of their data with employees.
Technology on Guard of Employee Privacy
Yet, it’s not only law that watches over employees’ privacy. For BYOD implementation, you’ll need a tech solution in the domains of either tried-and-true Mobile Device Management (MDM) or young-and-budding Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). The former is usually criticized because of its inability to manage personal data safely, while the latter has proven to be the right tool when the issue of employee privacy is the highest priority.
EMM encloses corporate and private apps in two different containers, thus isolating them from each other. As an employer has access only to the enterprise container, employees don’t have to get in a sweat about the integrity of the private one. EMM prevents unauthorized access to enterprise applications and corporate data on mobile devices all in line with BYOD security policies.
You can explain to your staff how EMM and the legal system work together toward their privacy maintenance to make your team feel secure now that they know what is what in BYOD. To make it even more transparent for your employees, run a trial with some training sessions on EMM.
3. Discuss the Legal Matters of Unpaid Overwork
You should remember that unpaid overwork might cost employers dearly: not only legal disputes come at a price, they can also affect your business reputation.
Unfortunately, EMM is not a helper in regulating such issues. Here’s where detailed BYOD policies together with effective employer-employee communication might offer a solution.
Try to agree with your team on the following aspects:
- Is it permitted to work from home?
- Are there any limits to “off-hours” work?
- If remote work is allowed, how should your staff track the “outside the norm” hours?
- What is the price for remote work?
- Are there any exceptions to this rule, and what are they?
Of course, all of the discussed should be timely put in black and white. In the process of communication, new noteworthy aspects might come up, so document all you managed to agree upon. Also, remember the golden rule of drafting a BYOD policy: it’s better to be safe than sorry.
On a Final Note
Being one of those solutions that are not developed, introduced or managed in the blink of an eye, BYOD requires a lot of managers’ efforts. Scrupulous policy preparation, blow-by-blow EMM system introduction and, of course, an ongoing dialogue with the staff—it’s a long but gratifying way.
In the end, BYOD will make a positive contribution to managers and their staff alike. Such a policy can not merely save money, it also increases employees’ productivity and appeals to younger generations. All in all, it seems like BYOD is one of those rare cases when long discussions bring businesses more profit than loss
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