Bring Your Own Device: Bane or boon in the construction industry?
In the workplace, smartphone and tablet use present a number of problems – but an equal number of opportunities.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture has permeated the workplace in recent years. In many companies, it's the norm for individuals to bring their own devices into work and access company files using those devices.
However, not all businesses are convinced of the merits of BYOD.
In today's article, we take a look at the pros and cons of BYOD in the construction industry.
Employees like to use their own devices at work. They're familiar with them. They have all the apps they need and they're setup in a way that they find easiest to use. Studies have shown that employees are happier, more productive, and have higher morale if they're allowed to use their personal devices at work. Additionally, it's simply more convenient for employees if they only need to carry around their personal phones instead of both a company phone and a personal device.
As well as these indirect benefits, employers will also cut their costs if they don't need to provide smartphones to staff. Furthermore, employees can easily continue their work at home if they have the relevant data and apps on their personal device. Construction workers can complete forms and check their schedule without having to call the office or file paperwork.
Perhaps the biggest risk associated with BYOD is security. You can't assume that employee devices have the same level of security as company-owned hardware does. Employees might not update their laptop or phone regularly, or perhaps they don't password protect their devices. Your company data could be extremely vulnerable.
From a technical standpoint, there may also be issues. Perhaps some employees use a different OS to the one which your technical support team know best. Maybe their personal devices are slow and outdated, and your software doesn't support them.
You may also be concerned about staff using their personal devices to access social media or other personal apps whilst at work. It's not easy to police social media use at work if employees are expected to use personal devices all the time at work anyway.
In the construction industry, where so many workers operate remotely or over multiple sites, the benefits of smartphone use are significant. However, the decision to allow employees to use personal devices at work has significant security implications that staff must be aware of. Employers should also understand that it'll be impossible to have the same level of control over data on a personal device as data on a business device.
Of course, there is no right answer to this thorny issue – companies will have to set BYOD policies based on their specific circumstances.
Want more information on security in the internet age? Take a look at our guide to cybersecurity when using accounting software.