As employees increasingly demand to use their preferred electronic device in the workplace, employers are working through whether the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) concept is a good idea, or an employee perk to ban for security and cost reasons. In my next few blog posts, I plan to explore the issue and take a look at the pros and cons, and to set out how to implement an effective BYOD program for those workplaces that are going to jump in.

Consuming & Pushing Out Content

Smart phones and tablets continue to change how we consume online content, communicate with each other and participate in social media. I recently upgraded my device and have been pleased with how much easier and quicker it is to sync my social media platforms and to post or tweet on the spot. It turns out that the kids these days are not spending all their time in front of a screen tweeting each other, but rather, staying on top of technology makes social participation seamless and efficient to do on the go.

The Lure of Mobile Across the Ages

We cannot underestimate the allure of the mobile device, and employers who try to ban such extensions of an employee’s social system without good reason are likely to face resistance. Beyond all the stereotypes of Gen-Yers needing to tweet out what they just had for lunch, the more powerful call for BYOD may come from your higher end executives who have set up their electronic infrastructure at home and want their mobile device to match – out of efficiency, a reluctance to waste time learning multiple platforms, or perhaps perceived status of one environment versus another.

Whether it is Apple for your Boomer’s excessive jazz collection on his beautifully designed minimalist machine (speaking of stereotypes) or PC because your Gen-Xer still prefers to get at the motherboard to customize and upgrade her own engine power, employees come with all kinds of non-work related reasons for BYOD.

The C-Suite Demand

The other surprising corner from where the BYOD demand appears to be coming are C-suite executives who, according to one study conducted by Wakefield Research for Avanade, are focused on the benefits of what can be accomplished outside the office walls. Their IT decision makers, on the other hand, are still focused on how to minimize potential risks.

Here are some other findings from that same study, which surveyed about 600 C-level executives and IT decision makers in 19 countries:

  • More than six in ten companies (61 percent) report the majority of their employees now use personal computing devices in the workplace.
  • More than half (54 percent) report the majority of their employees use smartphones for basic work tasks such as reading email, online documents and calendar invitations.
  • One-third (33 percent) report the majority of their employees use tablets for basic work tasks.
  • More surprisingly, the exact same number of respondents – 33 percent – report the majority of their employees are using tablets for advanced business purposes such as CRM, project management, content creation and data analysis.

Like social media, or desk top computers before that, or the new-fangled telephone before that, the allure of technological development continues to be the increased speed by which we can access information and communicate with each other. The modern variety of devices upon which to do this are increasingly vast.

Stay tuned for my next posts on BYOD: