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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Olsen

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Pros and Cons and how Virtual Company Extensions can find the Balance.

Updated: Oct 19

Helping companies understand, assess and leverage UCaaS or unified communications as a service a service (aka virtual company extensions) has allowed me to gain a lot of insight into different company policies around phone use including mobile devices and the hazards it can bring.

For the employee BYOD can mean bring your own privacy and for the employer RISK.

Mobile phones are very much here to stay and well entrenched as the handset of choice in most work environments. However, BYOD policies, where employees are allowed to use their own device/mobile phone bring with them both pros and cons and the list of cons is increasing.

A couple of common drivers for providing BYOD policies is cost and convenience; mobile corporate plans can be expensive and permanent, at least for the period of the agreement which is often three years. The convenience is that employees don't want to carry two handsets and its easier for the employer to roll-out – get them to download the device management application (MDM) and sign the BYOD policy.

So, here's a quick list of the pros and cons and how the third option of using a virtual cloud extension (UCaaS) on your personal device can go a long way in in providing the perfect solution.

The Pros:

For the Employee:

  • Only carrying one phone. Let's face it. Carrying two phones can be annoying

  • Familiarity and control - use the device you comfortable and familiar with

  • Keep control of professional relationships. In some industries I have found like real estate they insist on using their personal number so that if and when they leave their employer for another job their contacts (e.g. clients!) go with them.

  • Simplicity. Easier for the employee and easier for the employer. Just pay them a data allowance and it's done.

  • Freedom to upgrade. Staff can do what they please with their phone like simply upgrading to the latest and greatest.

For the Employer:

  • Simplicity. Easier for the employee and easier for the employer. Just pay them a data allowance and it's done.

  • Cost - paying for corporate owned devices can be expensive in most company mobile agreements are a minimum of three years.

The Cons

With each organisation I talk to I'm finding that this list continues to grow.

For the Employee

  • Stress: You can't turn off work. Much more difficult to turn work off when your number is used for work. Writing work into your personal life. I have heard accounts from individuals I'm late-night calls and even stalking in some extreme cases.

  • Privacy. Companies often ask that you install a security application often referred to as MDM or mobile device management which may give them access to sensitive personal information.

  • Restriction of use: some company BYOD policies may apply restrictions on how you use your phone.

  • Risk of data loss; some BYOD policies ask that employees clean company data from their phone when they leave the company. This may inadvertently result in the loss of personal information.

For the Employer

  • Risk. Employers are at risk of privacy breach (e.g disclosure of client information) and the penalties for this are quite high not to mention the impact on reputation.

  • Compliance. In many industries like NDIS phone records need to need to be archived and available for audit. This becomes difficult if not impossible if you need the phone records of a former staff member.

  • Client experience. With no visibility on call activity, it becomes more difficult to manage the customer experience. For example, regarding customer complaints poor service delivery and you have no visibility on who called who and when.

  • Industrial relations. You may be in a situation where you need call records to support a case the simply are not available because of your BYOD policy.

  • Customer relationship stays with the phone number. When employees leave I've often heard employers express frustration knowing that many customers leave with the departee employee and the common connection is the phone number.

The best of both worlds; the virtual company extension.

The use of a cloud telephony service or use UCaaS is increasingly common as it strikes up a nice balance between company and personal use. Here is a quick list of the benefits:

For the employee

  • One phone; continue to use your personal handset and your mobile number as you do for personal use. And use the app provided to make and receive company calls. For the leading cloud telephony services it is a very simple an easy to use app.

  • Much less stress. When you are finished work you simply make yourself unavailable through the app or set your own hours so the phone automatically redirects at 5:00 for example.

  • Privacy; no risk of your number being used against you or random late night calls. Less chance of your personal number being available on the Internet

  • Less Work. In some industries you need to make note I've called activity or leave case notes. Call metrics and activity are easily accessible through leading cloud telephony services. In some cases, the connectivity gets captured in your company CRM against the client contact.

  • No restrictions from employer on phone use. Since all calls are through the virtual company extension there is a much more simplified separation; One button for work and one button for personal.

For the employer

  • Reduces Risk: by having visibility on call activity and metrics, the employer will be better able to manage client experience

  • Control Client experience: set up call handling rules to make sure all calls are captured and reportable especially when client clock off.

  • Capture call activity in your CRM (if you have integration): through integration you can automate the capture of call activity, and this helps improve client experience. For example having a 360 view of a customer on inbound calls and also understanding connectivity for account management etc.

  • Increase Security: reduce risk of staff maintaining the security updates on their phone which could increase access for virus, malware and disclosure of information

  • Make staff happier and reduce turnover;

  • Better employee relations – support right to disconnect and help reduce staff stress levels

  • Industrial relations and audits - you have the paper trail at your fingertips, so to speak - all call record down to a granular level and in some cases, recordings and transcripts

  • Apply AI - scan calls anonymously for customer sentiment, red flags, compliance etc

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