By Jessica Oaks
The divide between workspace and personal space has gradually faded away thanks to the constant connectivity now accessible to most people. Whether you love the ‘always on’ culture or hate it, there’s no denying it is an amazing time for the aspiring entrepreneur and the small business owner to be building a team.
The days of outfitting an office may soon be over entirely – research and advisory firm Gartner has predicted that by 2017 at least 50 percent of white collar workers in the United States will be part of the bring your own device (BYOD) movement. That could spell big cost savings for the individuals and companies who need it most, but the benefits of BYOD go far beyond the bottom line.
Large companies may be leading in adopting BYOD policies, but here are a few ways it can also be beneficial for small businesses:
Employee Satisfaction Goes Up.
Global tax and consulting firm Deloitte found allowing employee-owned devices made for happy employees – in fact, workers at companies with clear BYOD policies were more satisfied than any other employees. That includes those in the corner office.
Waste Goes Down.
BYOD is the ultimate solution to the problem of companies investing in tech that never gets used. The upfront cost of purchasing devices and software licenses drops, and is almost never matched by ongoing subscription costs related to mobile device management. That’s because cloud-based server and software purchases can be tailored to a company’s precise needs.
Collaboration is Easier.
With data in the cloud versus in-office servers, employees can access company files from anywhere and pull resources anytime. Apps designed to empower collaboration ensure ownership issues or confusion about who edited what and when don’t get in the way of productivity.
Setup and Upgrade Times Get Shorter.
Getting up and running with cloud-based apps, platforms and processes – even when it’s a completely new system – is faster and easier than outfitting an office or department with all new technology. Better still, there’s minimal risk involved because the time investment is so low. And with companies like BlackBerry offering BYOD solutions to meet business needs, corporations don’t have to worry about finding multiple enterprises to handle each facet of their BYOD policy.
Training is a Breeze.
When employees are working with the devices, software and apps they’re already comfortable with, the time and financial investment that comes with training drops significantly.
It’s Cleaner, Greener and Leaner.
BYOD means there’s a single set of devices for work and home – and that means fewer power-hungry desktops, less pollution generated by electronics manufacturing and more recycling of e-waste since businesses tend to have better access to recycling programs.
And Employees are Always On.
It’s clear that having employees available before and after the 9-5 schedule is valuable in today’s global economy. At the same time, BYOD can promote the kind of flexibility that helps people maintain a clear work and life balance.
While 2017 might seem like it’s a long way off, Cisco’s IBSG Horizons Study found that 95 percent of IT and business leaders surveyed were already employed by companies that permit employee-owned devices in the office. Today’s entrepreneurs should take note: what you stand to lose by not being a BYOD early adopter is not only money, it’s also potential employees who decide to take their skills elsewhere.
Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.