There's a reason why businesses are adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): It makes sense. Not only do companies stand to save money with such a program, they also stand to gain a more efficient workforce. However, there might be one hurdle in the way — reluctant end users. Not everyone will see the value in bringing their own hardware into the workplace or using it out in the wild for work endeavors.
If your company wants to make a concerted effort to bring end users into this program, but you're afraid you'll meet resistance, let me offer a few ideas to help you make BYOD more appealing to those hesitant end users.
1: More freedom
One of the biggest benefits of BYOD is the freedom offered to end users. These freedoms can come in many forms, such as allowing them time to use social networks. Because you're going to gain efficiencies in other ways, you can afford the time users will spend on social networking sites. You can still let them know that although it is being allowed, it will be monitored.
2: Longer work lunches
So long as employees are taking their devices to lunch, it makes sense to give them extended lunch periods. This, of course, assumes that they're actually working during this period. For the more efficient BYODers, you could start extending their lunch breaks gradually. Once others see the benefit, they will happily request to join the force. Of course, you have to make sure that employees are, in fact, getting their work completed. But do not go on the offensive. Act only if you see a dip in productivity.
3: Software incentives
More than likely, your company has access to software titles at lower prices than do your employees. Why not extend these prices to your employees as an added incentive for BYOD? Not only will this help empower your employees to produce better work, it will allow them to get software they might not have been able to afford otherwise.
4: End-of-year bonus
You've saved money by having your employees bring in their own devices. There is no reason why you can't pass on a fraction of those savings to participating BYODers. Consider this "bonus" to be a wear-and-tear payment. Most likely, it will be fairly small (in the grand scheme of things), but it will go a long way toward showing your BYOD employees your appreciation.
5: Hardware purchases through the company
Similar to the software incentive, you probably can allow your employees to purchase the hardware they will use in the BYOD program through your own channels. This could take the place of the end-of-year bonus, as it will allow the user to purchase hardware at a reduced price. It might also allow the users to purchase better hardware — which can result in even more efficient work.
6: More telecommuting opportunities
Telecommuting is still an option, but you may not want to turn BYOD employees into straight-up telecommuters. Instead, offer BYOD employees the option to telecommute on certain days. This is an incentive that's sure to bring more users into the fold. Just make sure you aren't inundated with users wanting to take advantage of such an opportunity. Otherwise, you'll end up with an empty office. Be sure there is a set schedule for BYOD telecommuting.
7: Offer cloud storage
If your company has the resources, offer BYOD employees an internal cloud storage option. This solves a number of problems. It allows your employees easy access to the data they need to work with and enables them to store personal data in a safe cloud environment. Anyone can use Dropbox, SpiderOak, Ubuntu One (or any of the many cloud services). But if you can offer your employees onsite cloud storage for both work and personal data, you're a step ahead. Be very careful with this. Make sure every employee knows what data is allowed to be stored on the cloud and what is prohibited.
8: Phone compensation
For those BYODers using their personal smartphones for business, it makes sense to compensate their phone plan somewhat. This does not mean you have to pay their entire bill. In fact, you could either pay just a percentage of their voice or their data plan. This will help your employees understand how important the program is, as well as how much you value their participation.
9: Free (limited) support
You don't want to get your IT staff involved with supporting all employee-owned devices. You should make sure the level of support is limited (say, virus removal or networking support) to keep your IT staff from working on your network, servers, and desktop machines. But this will be a nice additional incentive, because your end users won't have to pay for third-party support.
10: More secure devices
Security is always a concern, BYOD or not. If you can offer your BYODers added security on their devices, they will (or should) jump at the opportunity. This not only benefits them, it benefits you. Having your company data out in the wild is a dangerous proposition — especially if the devices holding the data aren't as secured as possible. When an end user brings in a device for BYOD, allow your IT staff to put their hands on it and add a company-accepted security setup.
Give and take
BYOD can benefit everyone involved. Yes, it may mean you have to bend some rules or even open up the purse strings just a fraction. But in the end, you'll be glad you did. Give these ideas some thought and see if they don't inspire your employees to be more accepting of BYOD.
For a comprehensive look at BYOD strategies, benefits, and challenges, check out ZDNet's latest feature page, BYOD and the Consumerization of IT.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.