The average employee thinks nothing of using a personal device for business purposes. In fact, most wonder why it’s such a big deal (for many organizations) to bring an iPad to work and get it connected to the network or why they might possibly be required to carry an employer issued phone alongside their new smartphone.
There are plenty of reasons why organizations are resistant to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), not the least of which are valid concerns about security and how a proliferation of heterogeneous devices will be supported. Yet BYOD can ultimately improve employee productivity and satisfaction. After all, when the line is blurred between work and home, people tend to work a lot more and when they’re working on a device with which they’re entirely comfortable, they’ll generally work faster, better, and more.
So how can IT make BYOD work while still maintaining secure environments and sustainably meeting support requirements? Throw a BYOD party. Yes, a party. Here’s how BYOD parties work for businesses in the early stages of embracing this movement:
- Schedule a party during work hours. Everyone who wants to start using personal devices needs to be there, so requiring employees to stay after work, even for a party, won’t get the attendance of a breakfast or lunch party.
- Provide food. ‘Nuff said.
- Have everyone bring their proposed device or devices, whether it’s a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet.
- Let people eat. Again, enough said.
- Briefly introduce the idea of BYOD and, in lay terms free of jargon, explain the major challenges around personal devices specific to the organization. Also talk about the benefits of BYOD and why IT is introducing it.
- Do something fun. Have employees get into groups led by a member of the IT staff and compare notes on their devices and why they chose them. Or give the group who can order themselves by processor clock speed Amazon gift cards to order new cases for their devices. It doesn’t matter. The point is to get people talking about their devices in ways that they probably won’t talk about that corporate Blackberry they have to carry. This has the added benefit of allowing the group leaders to informally survey the devices employees want to bring with them and ensure that there won’t be any inherent incompatibilities or potential problems (very old versions of Android, for example, that can’t be appropriately secured).
- Regroup and introduce the organization’s proposed policies around BYOD. This is actually the most important function of the party. People tend to rail against policy anyway, let alone policies that exercise control over how they use devices for which they paid themselves. Talking informally about them will go over much better than a cold memo from those Draconian obstructionists in IT. Don’t break out a PowerPoint. They can get a formal copy of the policies when they leave. Just talk and make sure that reasonable policies are accompanied by reasonable rationale.
- End the party by giving everyone small gift cards to their app store of choice. Have a selection of equivalent Amazon store cards available for people who want to bring laptops or other devices that can’t tap the Apple or Android app stores.
BYOD is intended to make computing, work, and IT in general fun, personal, useful, and productive for everyone. Introducing it in a fun and personal way is a great way to get everyone on the same page and ensure that there are no surprises in store for IT.