Why Small Businesses Should Care about BYOD

Discussion about today’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) era and its growing influence on big enterprise is rampant across the web right now – and rightly so. BYOD adoption has sky-rocketed among companies of over $5 million in revenue, and it’s expected that this year roughly half of these employers will require employees to supply their own device on the job.

Despite this growing enthusiasm for BYOD and the business opportunities it offers, many business leaders are hesitant to embrace it. According to Gartner, only a shocking 22% of leaders feel they’ve made a strong business case for BYOD. And while gains in workplace efficiency, mobility and scalability are often cited as impactful benefits, many mid- and small-sized businesses with limited staffs are challenged to relate these to the day-to-day of their organization.

The reality is the value of BYOD isn’t just reserved for big enterprise. This modern, ever-evolving paradigm can make a top-to-bottom impact on the small businesses that embrace it. With full buy-in, SMBs can leverage BYOD in a way that helps them run a more efficient, collaborative and results-oriented business.

Empowering Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is causing a dangerous rift between employers and employees. A study from OfficeTeam found that while 63% of business leaders feel they support employee work-life balance, only 34% of their employees agree with them. BYOD gives employers an opportunity to bridge this gap in perception and empower work-life flexibility, especially as the workforce gets younger and work-life balance surpasses elements like career progression and monetary compensation as core workplace motivators.

Some 80% of employees view the ability to work from home as a job perk, and the BYOD concept means employees of all businesses large and small can enjoy it. Whether company-issued or personal, devices have spawned a new generation of teleworkers that makes up approximately one-quarter of the workforce. But by enabling employees to use their own devices for work purposes, small businesses can avoid paying for these devices as overhead. What’s more, these devices can even be used to have a more direct influence on work-life balance and company morale through initiatives like virtual office parties and retreats.

Whether they have a remote work program or enforce a strict in-house policy, small business leaders should consider BYOD-driven mobility as one way to make a positive impact on work-life balance. If nothing else, the BYOD topic can be a conversation starter related to how small businesses can foster a more balanced work environment for their employees and contractors.

Leading by Outcome, Not Task

Small business leaders and employees are often no strangers to working long or irregular hours. Apart from having a negative impact on work-life balance, intense workloads can derail teams into getting mired in the details of tasks and project calendars. As a result, projects may get done and performances may measure well according to traditional KPIs, but the quality and fulfillment of the work can get lost in the shuffle.

BYOD can help busy SMB owners and managers lead by outcome and results rather than through the checkboxes of a specific project. A new employee generation is arising, the digital nomad, that is leveraging technology in order to free themselves from traditionally-structured, task-oriented workdays in favor of a more flexible, self-directed environment. With the right approach, employers can leverage this employee mindset into a healthier and more productive workplace.

Unified communications tools like Skype for Business and Microsoft Office 365 enable teams to have more targeted, result-oriented interactions. Collaboration can happen in real time without the intrusion of in-person chatter or tangential conversations. Similarly, a tool like Slack enables tasks and communications to be siloed around a specific project outcome. Teams are able to use an on-demand, project-specific area to collaborate from a variety of locations and devices while leaders get a real-time snapshot of all progress being made toward a specific outcome. The benefit of these BYOD-oriented solutions is that leaders give employees the freedom to be creative and self-driven with how they arrive at project outcomes. The time, energy and money spent collaborating can be centered around achieving a goal rather than arriving at a destination.

Leveraging the Full Value of BYODis a Choice

Bottom line: BYOD has never been more relevant for small businesses, but it’s up to the business leader whether their organization capitalizes on the available opportunities. Leveraging day-to-day tools like mobile devices and collaboration technology in a way that contributes to gains in areas like work-life balance and project outcomes doesn’t happen by accident. It requires a shift in mindset and practice that starts with embracing BYOD as a means for working smarter and solving problems.

Get more insight into the evolving workplace environment and today’s “digital nomad” revolution by reading “Is the Office Obsolete?”