The remote and flexible working trend continues to rise, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are becoming a key facilitator for businesses to help easily and cost effectively modernise their culture, drive efficiency and retain staff, while also attracting the most talented new candidates. The use of personal mobile devices for work purposes is becoming especially commonplace, providing employees with the flexibility they need to work where and when they choose.
Not only are remote and flexible working policies increasingly attractive for employees and employers alike, their benefits and acquired momentum are also being noted by government bodies, resulting in the very real possibility that they could soon be regulated at a higher level. But, in the meantime, is the lack of regulation - combined with the very tangible benefits - causing organisations to overlook the risks? How can BYOD policies be implemented while ensuring security, compliance and consistency within a business?
A reformed way of working
According to a recent report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), ‘Fair opportunities for all: A strategy to reduce pay gaps in Britain', all jobs at all levels should be offered as flexible to remove the barriers faced by women, ethnic minorities and disabled people, who are otherwise more likely to have to negotiate flexible working or accept part-time jobs that are often lower paid.
The report highlights the potential for flexible and remote working to therefore revolutionise equality in the workplace and is a strong assertion for a shake up of working culture and practices to reduce pay gaps. Supported by research showing many workers are unable to escape from low-paid work, despite their aspiration to do so, flexible working is set to increase as a major consideration for employees looking for a fair, forward thinking and flexible business to join.
At the same time, managers are understanding the productivity gains and cost savings associated with greater employee satisfaction; flexible working initiatives will attract and retain talented staff, while businesses can easily provide access to the necessary resource that enables work to be completed at an equally high standard without the need for an immediate physical presence. For SMEs in particular, bring your own device initiatives help keep costs down while providing the agility and flexibility to compete with the rigid structures of larger competitors.
Even for companies that remain largely office-based, bring your own device is the preferred option for many SME employees as it drives a high level of efficiency. Employee products are more familiar, and can often be more advanced and responsive than company equipment. There are savings to be made by avoiding office equipment upgrades and employees can work remotely without location constraints.
The benefits of BYOD are changing the way that we work for the better, but with this change come additional security implications. Companies must ensure that, while they and their employees are benefitting from this new way of working, they are not exposing the business to added risk as a result.
Personal mobile devices in particular are increasingly being used for work purposes and it's also all too easy for employees to do so regardless of whether a BYOD policy has been put in place. This is posing a very real threat to businesses and their ability to control who has access to sensitive corporate data. How many business owners, for example, can confidently state the number of mobile devices that are currently synced with their company data right now? And can they ensure work calls made on that device are compliant with company, customer and regulatory processes and requirements? For companies that hold and process personal data, a BYOD policy is also important to ensure compliance with data protection regulations, and in accordance with the changes being brought in with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Security is of course the number one concern, but for remote and flexible working strategies to pose a reliable, long term opportunity, a solution must be in place that also ensures a standardised, centrally managed customer experience and the opportunity for additional call management functionality. For employees working remotely on their personal mobile phones, management must still be able to provide constructive advice to help them improve customer service, and to ensure business information is stored securely, which requires tools such as call recording and real-time reporting. Likewise, functionality such as call routing and call queuing allow for a consistent caller experience – a key pillar of exceptional customer service.
The advent of Cloud is a telephony game changer; it can be leveraged across the board, encompassing mobile devices onto a secure network through the simple download of an app. It can provide the ability to add call recording for both inbound and outbound calls, and control caller ID information during outbound calling. Coupled with eliminating any costs that could be incurred by mobile use, and with usage integrated with real-time reporting, businesses can ensure confidence, compliance and consistency, regardless of their employees' location.
For businesses with multiple sites and dispersed resources, the cloud also delivers centralised access to real-time metrics across the entire calling environment of a dispersed team, sites and even countries that were previously out of reach. For mid-market sized businesses, branching out into new regions can be an expensive and risky endeavour, but a virtual contact centre environment, hosted in the cloud, eliminates the need for an immediate physical presence. Instead, resources can be easily shared to better utilise and manage existing capacity, while reducing operational costs.
Flexible and remote working practices are the future and BYOD policies will be key to realising the full range of benefits to be gained by both businesses and their employees. BYOD is helping businesses to modernise, streamline and future proof through the ability to scale at ease and for less. For employees, it is facilitating greater freedom at work, and for society there is the potential to help reduce pay gaps and create a more equal working platform for all. There's a fine balance to be had when it comes to the use of personal devices, but if managed correctly, BYOD can reduce costs and increase productivity without risking security.
Contributed by Lee Bryant, managing director, Sesui
*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SC Media or Haymarket Media.