BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, is certainly becoming more prevalent in the workplace because it saves money and gives employees the freedom they expect and want. After all, what is a fulfilling career when you can't even have a life?
Companies must find a proper balance between work and personal use with BYOD to accommodate this sweeping change. Here’s how:
1. Pick the Right Personal and Professional Apps
Most phones are smart enough to handle professional software and personal apps with no functional compromises. It's okay to blend your favorite personal apps with your business apps.
If your company allows personal apps on their phones, the employee is more likely to bond with their phone and make better use of it, giving your business more work time in return.
This is the central idea of BYOD — business and personal software living together in harmony.
2. Give Employees a Choice
Give employees the option to use the device they like best and install apps they like and already use. This empowers employees and makes them feel more comfortable. Trying to limit the apps on your phones will only cut the effectiveness of BYOD.
The whole reason employees like it so much is the freedom it gives them. Take this away and the entire purpose of BYOD is lost. Use mobile application management software to check employee devices.
These programs search for malware, viruses and other problematic programs employees can download on their phones. You don't want a program running in the background to steal sensitive company information.
…your employees waste less time and are more productive…
3. Create Personal Space on the Phone
Most work-at-home telecommuters say that having a desk set up just for work helps them concentrate and get more done. You don't want the entire home to feel like a workplace. It also helps to never do any work in personal spaces like your bedroom or living room. These rooms should be used for resting, not working.
The same theory holds true for your smartphone. Keep the personal apps separate from the business apps, productivity software, and work files. This makes it easier to keep the two personalities of your phone separate.
Store your personal apps inside a widget or keep them all on one screen page, for instance. Certain smartphones have features that allow better and more complete separation of personal and business.
This new personal space will act like a virtual break room and employees can enter it when they need a break. When they leave the virtual break room, they'll know it's time to get back to work. This keeps employees from taking advantage of the personal side of their phone, and draws a clear line between business and social use but it also creates balance.
4. Make Switching Easier and Faster
When switching between work and life apps is faster and easier, your employees waste less time and are more productive. Finding a balance between work and life is also easier.
Employees can also switch into personal apps during downtime while waiting for a call or order dinner when they are running late at the office, then quickly switch right back into work mode. This fast switch gives more control to users so they find the best ways to balance work and personal responsibilities.
This fosters better work-life balance right in the workplace and makes the user's life a little easier. They'll feel more empowered while your company retains just as much control over information and the business aspect of BYOD.
As BYOD gains traction, software companies continue to develop new ways to make switching between work and life apps easier and more defined. Keep your eye out for software designed with work-life balance in mind.
5. Look to the Cloud
Clouds offer extra protection for data because files, images, and important documents stay on your servers instead on each smartphone. Relegate your files to the cloud in a protected environment and offer password-protected access only. Install cloud access as an app on devices and you'll automatically separate work and life.
Before employees work on professional files, they must log on to the cloud. This simple action alone creates a comfortable separation between work and life. Employees know that when they log on, they're focusing on work. After logging off, their phone can become a personal device.
6. Set Boundaries
Boundaries are good things if you want to find balance between work and life, especially when BYOD lets you work from anywhere. But just because you can work on a project at 1 A.M. doesn't mean you have to. It might be smarter to leave that project alone until morning when you are fresh and recharged.
Set up a schedule for work and stick to it. End all work activities at a reasonable time and leave an hour for social activities and entertainment. Your mind will turn off and you'll get into a deeper sleep. You get more rest and feel more refreshed in the morning so you can tackle your busy schedule.
7. Leave the Phone Home on Weekends
After a long work week, you really need to decompress and recharge your batteries. Use the weekends as your time to relax, not work. You can sustain a better balance between work and personal life this way.
Leave the phone at home, or lock it in a desk drawer if necessary.
Don't be afraid to forget about work for a little while. It will always be there come Monday. Go somewhere fun to relax on non-work days. Don't check office emails or hack away at a spreadsheet at the beach.
Mistakes are easy to make when distracted. You will do more harm than good if you try to get serious work done when everyone else is soaking up the sun.
Finding a balance between work and personal life is never easy, especially when work is a few screen taps away. However, BYOD will make finding work-life balance easier if used properly.
Miles Young is a freelance writer, business advisor and tech geek. You can follow him on Twitter @MrMilesYoung.