BYOD. It’s been said so often, it’s practically a buzzword. Smart phones might not be new, the way companies approach them is developing in interesting ways. One influence affecting the way companies handle BYOD is changing labor laws. Many states, including California and Illinois, require companies to reimburse employees for the business use of their personal assets. Those include anything from phones and computers to vehicles to home assets. While there are plenty of ways to manage company mobility, BYOD is on the rise.
When it comes to device programs, companies have two main options to consider.
Bring Your Own Device, more commonly referred to as BYOD, is a device program that allows employees to use personal devices and get reimbursed for the business use of their devices. Using a BYOD program changes how a company manages and approaches mobility as compared to a corporate-provide device program.
BYOD accounts for 56% of devices in the workplace. What does that mean? Bring-your-own-device programs are on the rise. Companies are embracing the program for a number of reasons. The biggest motivator is the lack of overhead. Companies looking for opportunities to control costs jump at the chance to avoid pouring money into a corporate-provided-device (CPD) program. Concerns over security can be handled with the right mobility management. Unified endpoint management plays a large role in making even personally owned devices secure.
Keep in mind, some companies aren’t using BYOD as an alternative, but as a supplement. Phones are essential in many positions. There may be a group of employees, or a department, that the company sets up with a CPD program.
There’s a reason that BYOD is gaining traction throughout the business world. Its value to companies can be attributed to two main elements: scalability and mobility. Let’s dive into how those translate to benefits for a business.
A BYOD program that relies on expense reports or monthly stipends doesn’t provide much insight. With the right reimbursement program, companies have a better understanding of the employees involved and the role-specific duties that require personal devices. This also simplifies expense reporting, a task whose cost can be measured in administrative hours. Increased insight and reduced admin is a recipe for the efficiencies so many companies are currently looking for.
Whether a company is kicking off a new mobility program or switching over from an old one, onboarding is a pain point. It takes time to transition employees from their previous devices to new ones. Practically everyone already has a phone. With a BYOD program, you won’t need to supply them with their device. No more sorting through the process of ordering multiples of the same phone. No more learning new operating systems. With BYOD, that’s no longer an issue. Employees use their personal device, the phone they’re comfortable with. When an employee onboards or offboards, the program admin simply adds or removes that person from the program. They don’t have to figure out what to do with the device.
A strong BYOD program can also easily download and update the necessary apps and business systems an employee needs to function in their role. Using a Mobile Device Management system, companies ensure the BYOD program integrates with their business systems.
Finally, BYOD empowers employees to use their personal device for business. No more carrying two phones, or learning a new operating system. Employees work with the phone they know.
Employers looking to adopt BYOD programs face the challenge of quantifying expenses that employees incur by using their personal devices for work and reimbursing them. There are a number of methods companies generally employ when it comes to BYOD reimbursement. One of them is simply having employees expense the costs monthly. This is a costly method as, according to GBTA, it costs the average organization $58 to process one expense report. It can be hard to control what an employee submits as reimbursement – their family phone bill, their entire internet bill. Verifying the amount can be a headache for the finance team.
Another method is a monthly stipend. While this is a simple method, it can also be expensive, as there’s 26% chance of potential to over or underpay each employee with a $50 monthly phone stipend. Monthly stipends don’t always consider the employees role, location, or total business house. Companies may even choose not to reimburse for business use of personal devices. However, this may be in violation of labor laws and expose the company to lawsuit risk.
While these methods are popular, they do have considerable downsides.With the right vendor, employers can ensure reimbursements that match the specific needs of each individual employee. By combining technology and expertise, a vendor can offer equitable reimbursements based on living cost data and business use. This method ensures reimbursements are distributed to those with roles that require business use of personal phones. On top of removing reporting expenses from BYOD, this also offers oversight into the payment process.
Desirable employee benefits have shifted considerably in the last couple of years. Attachments to company assets have waned as flexibility has come into focus. Those who worked through the pandemic from their home know how much they can do outside of a corporate setting. The flexibility a bring your own device program offers makes it a boon for both attracting and retaining top talent.
While the alternative, company-provided-device programs, may come with a new phone, this is often perceived as a burden and not a benefit. Not only does the employee have to keep track of two phones, they may also have to familiarize themselves with a different operating system. A BYOD program enables mobile workers to leverage a device they already know, without worrying about an additional one.
We’ve covered the broad benefits of a BYOD program. Improvements in cost control, efficiency, scalability and talent attraction can have a wide-reaching impact on a company. That isn’t to say there can’t be issues with a BYOD program. Perhaps the most noticeable is the concern over security.
Companies are often huge fans of the increased mobility BYOD brings. That excitement can be undercut by concerns over security risk. Employees may connect devices they use for work to less-than-reputable wireless networks during off hours—at the local coffee shop, for example. This can compromise sensitive information and expose devices to viruses that are then transferred to the office. What’s more, these infected devices create opportunities for hackers to infiltrate corporate systems. But even with these risks, there are solutions.
Some companies prefer company-provided-device programs because they have complete control over every device. They can install necessary security software to each device before the employee even sees it. However, security is not exclusive to CPD. Companies with BYOD programs also have security options.
By implementing a mobile device management (MDM) program businesses can secure and manage devices company-wide. This means employers can prioritize and balance the safety of employee personal data and sensitive company information. Some essentials of best-in-class security solutions include two-factor authentication and automated role-based licensing.
Internal BYOD programs often fail due to inconsistency or a lack of well-defined mobile policy. Policies prevent employees from using unmanaged devices to access corporate networks, applications and data, mitigating risk and protecting sensitive corporate assets. This is especially true when policies are configured to work with your mobile device management (MDM) systems. Companies without properly configured policy face a greater challenge than companies who have created theirs well before launch.
Without guidance on their BYOD program, companies risk reimbursing inaccurately. Many states laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) are in place to prevent employers from benefitting from employee-owned assets used for business growth and productivity. Keeping up with the changing laws and regulations without overpaying can be difficult.
As mentioned above, successfully implementing a BYOD program depends on how thorough the policy configuration is. Elements of a proper policy configuration include:
An important piece of that policy worth calling out is employee education and training. If there are apps, software updates or any other measures employees must take to make their device up to policy standard, the company should communicate with and train them. Additionally, beyond initial creation, consistent policy revision and updates are important for companies to consider when scaling their growing device programs.
Of course, policies are most effective with some level of enforcement. Along with the day-to-day management, strong policies use a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement to drive home the importance of policy adherence. Every organization needs to decide what reinforcement points are right for them and ensure these points are properly communicated to employees.
For a lot of companies, BYOD is an easy solution. For some, it’s a supplemental program. Regardless, BYOD has grown in popularity. Once companies overcome the challenges of security, policy and legal compliance, they benefit from cost control, efficiency, scalability and talent attraction and retention. The key is successfully rolling out the program. That success hinges on a solid BYOD policy and the expertise of its administration.
Whether you need a BYOD program across the company, or just a department or two, it helps to be educated. With the right vendor, your company can enjoy all the benefits of BYOD and dispel the disadvantages. Motus BYO helps companies reimburse for devices, as well as remote work essentials. Interested in exploring a Motus BYO program?