BYOD: a Right or a Privilege?

It used to be that there was a certain amount of pride in having a company-supplied computer or cell phone. Nowadays, for those I know with this perk, it just means having two computers or two cell phones. It seems that company devices are unnecessary in a world where every competitive employee already owns a computer or smartphone, something which certainly was not always the case. So what’s the big deal with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)?

A sample of the future workforce, college-educated employees ages 20-29, were surveyed regarding this issue. Their feelings regarding BYOD were overwhelmingly strong– the workers felt it was a right, and not a privilege, to utilize their own devices at work. In fact the workers answered that, regardless of company policy, they currently engage their personal devices at work. 1 out of 3 said they would break company policy to do so.

So why are companies against BYOD? Well for one, with employees engaging their personally-owned devices, companies lose control over the IT hardware and how it is used. How does a company tell an employee what they can and cannot do with their personal devices? The lines inevitably become grayed. Security of company data is also an issue. The same rules must be followed with personal devices as when using company-owned devices, but when an employee is let go, retrieving the company’s data becomes trickier.

This considered, two-thirds of the young workers surveyed believed they should be responsible for the security of devices used for work purposed, not the company.

Are these employees simply being selfish, or is there something to BYOD? CIO.com says there are benefits. The most obvious benefit being the money saved–up to $80 a month per user. With BYOD, the users cover most, if not all, costs related to their devices, and in most companies with BYOD policies, they report being happy to do so. This is most likely because of the second benefit: employee satisfaction. Workers chose their personal devices themselves, and usually for good reason. Therefore, they are much happier to use a device of their personal choosing than one chosen for them by the company, with which they may or may not find themselves compatible.

Users are also more likely to be frequently updating their personal devices, keeping the company on the cutting edge of technology. With BYOD, the company benefits from the latest technological features without having to constantly update each device themselves–or foot the bill. For users, this is also less hassle, as many company updates are slow and tedious.

Could it be that what on the surface seems a selfish demand of young employees, could actually be mutually beneficial to them and their employer?

Is Mobile Technology Making Us Anxious?

Mobile technology has cured boredom; there’s no doubt about that. Between checking emails, logging into each of your Social Networking Sites to check for updates and notifications, using any of the millions of apps and games, anyone with a smart phone, tablet, or ereader on them is going to be constantly stimulated, never suffering from those boring waits we all hate. Sounds great, right?

Think about it: when you’re stuck in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, enter a long line at the store, have 30 minutes until the next bus comes, find yourself with a few seconds before class starts, or even just make it to the restaurant before the friend you’re meeting…How long does it take you to pull out your phone (or tablet, ereader, etc.)? My bet is it happens pretty fast. For most of us, it’s second-nature.

In fact, I was amazed when I went through Customs last weekend, a strict no-cell-phone-zone, how many people—including myself—were tempted to ignore the rules and persistent nagging from officers to “put away your phones.”

What, besides intense boredom, are we robbing ourselves of with these quick-fixes of stimulation? First, reflection. By filling every gap of time between our daily activities, we spend less and less time looking back what we’ve done—unless of course you’re recounting your day for the purposes of that Facebook status or tweet. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone journal. Reflection can also apply to our lessons or what we witness happening around us. Another underrated time-filler: observation. When you’re on your cell phone between destinations, how likely are you to remember how you got there or what you saw on the way? Or maybe you just need to zone-out; that’s often the source of many great ideas. It sounds simple, yes, but maybe our mind deserves this break from technology.

Without a doubt, these technologies have enabled us to utilize these previously “wasted minutes” by keeping up on emails, news, and work, which is one of their greatest advantages. But does that mean we now feel compelled to fill every second of our day with such things? What’s wrong with sitting and essentially doing nothing for fifteen minutes? I can’t even remember the last time I did.

Sometimes this problem transcends even occupying boredom. Jazmyn brought up texting and driving; surely there is adequate mental stimulation while driving that we aren’t so bored we are forced to get on our phones?! What about those people, or maybe friends you have, who are on their phones for no apparent reason while you’re hanging out? Assuming they aren’t merely bored with you, why do they do it?

This makes me wonder if we are truly denying ourselves that mental rest I mentioned previously, or if to some extent, we are incapable. The ability to instantly satisfy our boredom with smart phones or tablets has made us used to constant stimulation. Social Networking Sites and unlimited texting have made us used to always having that connection with our friends, as mentioned in The Human Connection.

Is this baseline of stimulation causing us to feel anxious without it? Are we bothered by that unfilled time? What do you guys think?