Blurred lines

Seventy four per cent of businesses in the UK are now taking advantage of BYOD, helping to drive enterprise mobility, connectivity and productivity. Mobile phones are increasingly versatile, but the question remains whether the convenience of the BYOD approach is being harnessed correctly? Are employees enjoying this connected world of work on their personal mobile phones, or does more still need to be done to define the line between the personal and professional?

BYOD: personal and professional communications

According to a recent survey by tyntec, 30% of UK employees use their personal mobile for work related tasks and 13% use both their personal and corporate phones for work. In addition, almost nine in ten use their mobile phones for work outside of normal business hours.

However, despite using their personal phone for work reasons, most UK employees (81%) would prefer to have either two separate phones or one phone with two numbers so that they can clearly differentiate their personal and corporate communications.

The main drivers for this preference were expressed in concerns over expense reimbursement and privacy. Almost 55% of UK respondents were moderately to extremely concerned about having to pay for business usage on their personal phone bills. Additionally, almost half of employees who use their personal device for work expressed concern about their employer’s ability to access their private messages. These apprehensions show that employers need to have clear policies in place that take into account worries over privacy and reimbursement.

tyntec’s survey highlighted that less than a fifth of UK employees have a formal BYOD policy in place at work. So how are the majority of businesses giving employees peace of mind against shock bills, and privacy breaches? This is where a good corporate mobility policy comes into play. A well-executed BYOD policy can help businesses tackle a range of issues, whilst retaining the flexibility and convenience that employees expect.

Separating the personal and professional

As long as companies are allowing employees to use their own devices, they need to address employee concerns about keeping their personal and business communications distinct. One way for businesses to protect privacy and separate communication channels is to power corporate phone apps with virtual phone numbers.

Having two separate phone numbers in one phone addresses both sides of the BYOD puzzle. IT departments can ensure mobile governance over all work-related communications by using the separate phone numbers as unique identifiers for employees; and employees can use their personal numbers for private communications. All that is required is for employees to install their corporate app enabled with a virtual phone number, and simply switch to the app for work related communications.

Employee expectations

New technologies have helped to unleash the potential of employee mobility, enabling employees’ greater flexibility in deciding when and where they work. However, it’s clear that there is a distinct need for organisations to have a strategic BYOD policy in place to ensure that employees are comfortable using their personal devices for work by providing a high level of privacy protection and compensating expenses.

Working with a company like tyntec that offers the technology and infrastructure needed to power enterprise communication applications with voice and SMS-enabled virtual numbers, enables employers to provide the separation that employees want, while bringing their devices under IT control and management. This approach helps to create an agile, forward-thinking workplace, and in today’s world it is something many employees will expect their organisation to deliver.

By Thorsten Trapp, co-founder and CTO, tyntec