One of the reasons I love my job is because I get to use technology at work, and more importantly it is the technology I want to use. Unfortunately, many of you reading this don’t enjoy the same privilege, but there are signs this is beginning to change.
Let me ask you this – if your work said that you could buy the latest Ultrabook or Mac laptop, iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab and an iPhone or Android-based smart phone, and that you were able to use it at work and get a financial benefit for doing so, would you? And would this little offer make you happier in the workplace?
Bloody oath it would. The whole world is using technology in all parts of our life. We buy it and enjoy the experience, then we go to work and the boss says ‘here is your four-year-old PC, now before we send it down to archives to use as a paper weight we need you to do something creative’.
Give me a break! Thank goodness companies are now working on ways in which we can use the technology we love and use outside of work, at work. This has so many benefits, the first – we get to use cool stuff at work. That on its own should make us happier, right?
The planet also benefits because there is one device used for at work and home, rather than two. You are therefore using your technology more, and getting more productivity out of a single device. Depending on your work you can salary sacrifice the purchase and save money, or you can at least make it tax deductible, again saving money. Win, win so far, you are happier and wealthier!
On the work benefit side, yes, we have to think of the win for the office to. There are cost savings for the company. The IT department no longer needs to pay for thousands of new computers every four years (or every year via lease arrangement). Look across the vista of your open plan office at the number of computers, each one cost around $1,000 each for the hardware. Those machines will go to landfill or need to be recycled when their use-by date comes around, but will not if they are never purchased in the first place (I think I said that the planet is happier already!).
There are concerns over security of company information, but this is being solved through Virtual Networks that the staff member logs into via a browser, or program, or with a tablet/smartphone via an app. All the information resides on the work network, and does not leave it. Your device acts as a viewer that can see the information, but not copy it to the outside device.
Another concern is who is responsible if the product breaks? If you use your PC for work and then it breaks on the way to work, what is the policy and how do you cover for the potential loss of productivity in such an event? Policies and procedures are being developed to cover those issues to. And what about tech support in the work place? With everyone using the same device tech support is uniform and systemised across the business, this is much harder to achieve with the bring your own model.
What about if the staff member does not have their own equipment or cannot afford it? Well, sadly in that situation it is likely they will be provided with something from the IT departments ‘technology to be used in case of emergency’ supply (sigh).
It is not an all-out rosy world of ‘bring your own’; however talking to IT managers (and their bosses) in the corporate world it is clear there is trend moving in this direction. Some early examples we have seen with companies allowing staff to use the smartphone they wanted to use, rather than only having access to a couple of different types of Blackberry.
Have a read of the release below, however for me, the world of Bring Your Own has many benefits which are far wider than just creating staff that are less stressed.
Smartphones and web services the new IT-thing in the office
Aussie employees working smarter with new technologies, but turned off by old-fashioned IT rules
Sydney, Australia – 20 March 2012 – Allowing staff to use technology of their choice is the key to reducing workplace stress according to new research commissioned by global technology company VMware, which found that smartphones, tablets and social media aren’t just fun to play with – they are also making us more productive in the workplace. The report found that Aussie employees work more effectively and feel happier when they use their personal IT devices and apps at work.
The survey revealed a large number of employees are being ‘forced’ to bring their personal devices to work to get the job done with 51% of Australians claiming they work more efficiently when they choose which software, apps, social networking and social media tools they use at work. It’s not just about being a better employee, either: 55% of Aussies say that using personal mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets at work makes them feel happier about their job. And 46% say they find work less stressful when they have a choice of what IT tools they use.
However, outdated company IT policies and restrictions are causing major headaches in how we go about our jobs. Around 87% of employees have to put up with strict IT policies imposed by our employers, while 79% get no IT support when we bring our own devices to work.
In fact, a growing number of Aussies feel they’re less efficient because of strict policies (25%) or that their employer doesn’t trust them to use their computers responsibly (19%). The survey suggests that number will keep on growing if companies don’t install changes soon.
“All these new technologies like smartphones, social networking and tablets are taking up a huge part of our waking lives,” says Dave Wakeman, VMware Australia and New Zealand. “It’s no surprise they’re affecting how we conduct ourselves and get the job done when we’re working.”
“And that’s not a bad thing – the value of social networking, personalised apps and mobile access to the Internet are already huge, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of how these new technologies can benefit business and society. If companies insist on pursuing old-fashioned rules and policies, they’re doing themselves a disservice – and, given time, they can expect their employees to vote with their feet.”
When considering potential employers, 50% of us think the ones who offer technological freedom are more progressive, dynamic, and desirable to work for. And with 28% of Aussies saying they’ll continue to use their personal software or devices at work without consent from their IT departments, we can expect these new IT trends to only grow in the future.
Wakeman continued, “The VMware survey clearly demonstrates that the world of corporate IT is rapidly changing, and organisations need to re-look at IT policies and procedures which are dampening creativity and productivity in the workplace. The big trends in business including cloud computing and mobile working are all re-defining how we want to work, and those organisations which can respond to employee needs and preferences for technology tools which get the job done quickly and easily, will be the most successful. Above all, business leaders need to consult closely with employees at all levels in the organisation to get the best outcomes for everyone in the business.”
“Businesses which want to stay competitive will open up the IT floor to their employees without hesitation,” Wakeman concluded. “Embracing technological freedom lets us work more effectively while feeling better while we do so. It’s a win-win situation and the survey shows it’s destined to become the norm – whether companies make the switch or not.”
The survey was conducted in January 2012, and interviewed more than 200 Australians who work at least 15 hours a week, from companies of more than 1000 employees worldwide.