When the idea of bringing your own devices to work was first mooted, you could hear the sigh of IT professionals up and down the country as the thought of multiple devices trying to connect to the Wi-Fi and access servers and systems filled them with dread.
While those concerns were valid for a while, they were quickly quashed as businesses realised they could not ignore the arrival of consumer technology in the workplace. In fact, the more savvy businesses recognised it as a significant opportunity: a way to empower their workforce to be more mobile and to work smarter and quicker than ever before.
Within the first six months of the iPad’s release, two million units had been sold. Just two years later and more than 64 million of the shiny devices had been snapped up. Our appetite for technology is insatiable – we covet it and we count down to its release, as sleeping bag laden queues of excited people proved with the release of the iPhone 6.
So why does it pay to support your employees in the use of their own tablets, smartphones and laptops and how does it benefit your business?
- Not every business can cover the capital expenditure associated with having the very latest new technologies. By allowing and supporting staff to use their own devices, you could give your business the benefit of increased mobility and the very latest technologies without the hefty cost.
- Familiarity can improve productivity. Working on your preferred device and one you know well improves productivity. If you’re familiar with the Apple operating system at home, why spend time fighting with Microsoft Windows at work, or vice versa, when you don’t need to?
- Technology unlocks space too. The use of more mobile technologies, whether they belong to your company or your employees, can lead to more efficient use of your workspace.
The proliferation of mobile devices has prompted agile working and given rise to the notion that work is an activity that you do rather than a place you go. If mobile devices mean your desks are rarely occupied at the same time, then maybe you could have fewer desks, freeing up space for other uses such as breakout areas, client meeting rooms or third spaces. Or, if the space is sizeable enough, perhaps you could sublet.
Thanks to technology, we’ve never been more empowered and it’s particularly evident in the workplace. We are no longer tethered to our desks and we actively seek more stimuli and variety in our working environments, wherever they may be. We can make that important call or respond to that critical email from a café. We can choose to conduct some research on a sofa in a quiet part of the office.
In simple terms, increased technological mobility has changed our expectations. It’s re-written the rule book about how and where we work. Consumer technology is now workplace technology too. Support that shift and you get the best of both worlds. Ignore it and you do your business out of the opportunities that new ever-changing devices and software bring for your people, processes and environment too.