By now, many companies are familiar with the practice of employees performing work functions on their personal electronics — the Bring Your Own Device phenomenon. And HR pros are just beginning to find out what a pain that phenomenon can be.  

The reality of BYOD is that it’s been going on for a long time — ever since the first mobile devices appeared on the scene. Today, workers will invariably find a way to access company data and network resources on their smartphones and tablets, regardless of whether the employer wants them to or not. The problem is, this practice could lead to a slew of problems, including:

  • employees, unwittingly or purposefully, making proprietary company info public
  • cases of digital harassment and other employee misbehavior, and
  • wage-and-hour claims from employees who are digitally connected to the workplace 24/7.

And, of course, there are the questions of protecting customer lists, trade secrets and the issue of e-discovery should the organization become involved in a legal dispute.

To make things worse, a survey last year indicated that only 23% of U.S. workers are familiar with their employer’s BYOD policy — but more than half (52%) said they store, view and work on work-related documents using their personal smartphones. In addition, 44% of those who have company-issued devices admit to downloading personal applications.

Different priorities at work

Pretty clear that it’s important for companies to develop a policy to help employees work with the devices that make them the most productive, while creating minimal risk for the organization.

Not that simple, though: Different management sectors have varying priorities. HR wants to make sure employees are following the normal workplace behavior rules. IT will want the rules to protect information security as best as possible. Managers will be looking for productivity gains and Finance will want an approach that saves the company money. So what should an overall BYOD policy include?

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