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Is it your job to provide a work laptop?

Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in HR Issues, Moneyville | 0 comments

By Sheryl Smolkin

Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca

You don’t mind BYOB – “bringing your own bottle” to parties. But should you have to  BYO laptop, smartphone and tablet computer to work?

An international study of 700 IT professionals conducted by Citrix Systems Inc. found that almost all (92 per cent) of the companies surveyed permit some workers to use non-company-issued devices for work-related tasks. Within two years about 35 per cent of the workforce is expected to be using non-company-issued computing devices.

The early corporate IT response to consumerization wavered between denial and refusal. For some organizations BYO raises concerns about security, application management and IT costs. But a straight-forward ban on consumer devices no longer makes sense for the vast majority of organizations, as it risks hampering productivity and alienating workers who have increasingly come of age in a digital world.

And with consumer devices inexorably entering the workplace, organizations are starting to realize they need policies supporting their use. Indeed, almost half of the participating companies already have some sort of BYO policy in place, and almost all expect to have a BYO policy by 2013.

That’s good news if you currently juggle multiple devices because you have a work-issued BlackBerry, but you wouldn’t consider leaving home without your iPhone and your iPad. But does the BYO trend simply represent a cost shift to employees?

It depends who you ask
–  40 per cent of companies intend to pay employees an amount roughly equivalent to what it would cost the IT department to buy and manage a similar device.
–  31 percent plan to offer some level of contribution towards the overall cost incurred by the employee.
–  29 per cent do not foresee offering any form of compensation.
Over half of the companies surveyed will require their employees to buy their own BYO devices, but in general the bulk of even employee-owned device management will be handled by the company. For example, two-thirds will not expect workers to purchase and manage anti-virus software.

If you are an early adopter who always has the latest tech toys, even a partial subsidy and the opportunity to use the “device de jour” both at work and at play may seem attractive. But for average employees, paying for expensive work-related tools could be very onerous, particularly if they can’t write off the expense at tax time.

Participating organizations acknowledge that one advantage of the emerging BYO trend could be reduced corporate costs. However, the top three reasons cited for investing in BYO infrastructure and policy development are: attracting and retaining top talent; enabling remote work or telework; and, ensuring staff have the relevant equipment for their roles.

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