Market musings

5 Key Principles in Using Employee Phones as Business Phones

by Sasha Viasasha
August 15, 2017

Employees are more productive when using their own phones as business phones.

That’s the conclusion from Cisco’s study of thousands of American workers using BYOD across a variety of industries.

 Workers said that they:

  • Are able to get more work done when using their own smartphone or other device.
  • Blended work and personal obligations more fluidly, accessing work from anywhere.
  • Found some utilities and apps on their own smartphones that functioned better than company software
  • Tuned the interface or operating system of their own device to make life easier for them.

Further Insights into BYOD:

Here are some more  of the most notable insights from the report: 

  • 83% felt more skilled at critical tasks using their own devices. 
  • 70% said they were expected to read and respond to urgent emails after working hours.
  • Only 10% are reimbursed with a stipend from the company for use of their smartphone.

The top industries where workers are using their own smartphones are:

  1. Education: 95.2%
  2. Technology 90.4%
  3. Healthcare 88.6%
  4. Banking 83.3%
  5. Manufacturing 80.7%

While tech and healthcare are commonly associated with BYOD, banking and manufacturing are the big surprises on this list.

That’s a strong indication that even business leaders in traditional, security-conscious industries have accepted the inevitability of BYOD.

David Willis, VP at Gartner predicted half of all businesses will make BYOD a requirement by the end of this year.  He explained, "BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades. The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs."

Over the past few years, some best practices have emerged in how to set up a BYOD program for success. These principles can help you shape a BYOD policy that is flexible and effective. 

1. Workers are empowered by using their preferred interface 

Workers are highly motivated to keep their own devices in good working order. A survey of smartphone users by Software Advice found that BYOD lowered the amount of help desk requests coming in to IT. People were more capable of fixing problems themselves or troubleshooting directly with the provider before calling someone in IT for assistance.

 In addition, 40% aren’t calling because they say they experienced far fewer technical problems when they use their own phones over company-issued hardware. 

2. There may be value hidden in shadow IT

The definition of “shadow IT” encompasses all software or downloaded apps used for business that were not approved by official company channels. For many years, executives and IT worked together to try to stamp out shadow IT, but then Dropbox happened.

Dropbox is a cloud-storage app that is extremely useful because it works across devices, platforms and proprietary systems. It went from 0 to 500 million users in under a decade because workers would just download the unauthorized app because the company network was too complicated and the files were often too big for email. Dropbox quickly moved from shadow IT to a business imperative due to its utility. Keep your eyes open for better solutions that employees will find on their own, as long as your company data remains securely protected.

3. Find the best tools to manage the mobile workforce 

Deloitte’s report on The Future of Work: The Augmented Workforce reported the alarming fact that the majority of companies today (53%) feel unprepared to manage “gig and talent-sharing economy resources.” Another 39% felt they were barely adequate at managing this sector of workers, which is rapidly dominating the augmented workforce.

By 2020, mobile-enabled workers will total 105.4 million people, which is 72.3% of the US workforce. 91% of them say they “get more done when working remotely.”  That’s a win-win because businesses with remote workers saw revenue growth 10% higher than office-bound companies.

4. Prioritize call quality for your business phone network

One essential piece in empowering remote work is a strong, reliable business phones in a network that can go anywhere. Fierce Wireless reported that Voice over LTE (VoLTE) outperformed VoIP business phones on three key metrics:

  • VoLTE had clearer signals, with clients reporting 94%lower mouth-to-ear delay vs. OTT VoIP.
  • VoLTE consumed 40% less smartphone battery power to achieve this level of quality
  • VoLTE uses talk/text minutes, that are normally unlimited, instead of the cap-restricted data used by VoIP

5. Data is the new currency

Mobile devices are already collecting vast amounts of data. Companies will be able to gather vital statistics in sources like GPS, call logs, web browsing, address book searches, calendars, and data from individual apps.

The Economist reported, “The world's most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” That data can be used to improve processes at work, smarter hiring practices or even generating original research for more targeted lead generation. 

Make sure you invest in a business communication system that not only connects workers wherever they are, but also provide valuable insights from data on how they communicate.

BYOD as the Perfect Platform for the Augmented Workforce

Deloitte’s report on the augmented workforce concluded that, “In 2017 and beyond, organizations should experiment and implement cognitive tools, focus heavily on retraining people to use these tools, and rethink the role of people as more and more work becomes automated.” 

A big part of that cognitive retraining will be easier if workers are working on the most productive devices with all the tools they need in one place and an empowering interface. That can only describe the user’s own personal device. 

At Spoke we're designed a simple but robust application that make it easy for you to turn your mobile phone infrastructure into a business phone system with enterprise level functionality and security. We're developing smart features to help your business grow, and to mediate the unique communication barriers of our digital age. Whether you want to consolidate a remote team, answer customer queries, or build a strong internal culture, we've got you covered.  To see if Spoke can help your small business, visit our features page or sign up for a free trial.  

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