Are Your Employees Doing This?

I just saw something that makes a point I covered in a technology trends briefing for a client yesterday. After getting my Sun-dried Ethiopia Harrar (a $3.45 “clover-brewed,” ridiculously priced guilty pleasure – nice marketing job, Starbucks!), I noticed a young woman sitting behind me with her 5x7 notebook out, busily scribbling while bent over a large smartphone. Hmmm, I thought, let’s see what she’s doing. So I made pest of myself by asking a few questions. Here is some of the Q&A (her replies are abbreviated; she was actually quite helpful and not as curt):

  • Q: Are you a student or is what you are doing for work? A: No, I’m actually working.
  • Q: So do you have a PC? A: I do, but it’s a bulky 17” laptop that I got when I was a student, and I can do what I need on this.
  • Q: Is that company-issued phone, or is it yours? A: It’s mine.
  • Q: Does your company help by paying for any of the service? A: No, I pay it all myself.
  • Q: Are you doing an official assignment? A: No, nobody told me to do this. I am ...
  • Q: Do you even have your PC with you? A: No, I didn’t bring it.

Our data indicates that what I observed is becoming extremely common. For example, we find that half of employees pay for all of their smartphone services while using them to get work done. Furthermore, about two-thirds of the 20-something workforce choose their own productivity tools; 40% do so despite company policy that they only use company-issued technology tools for company work. That’s perhaps expected, but have you considered that while 20-somethings are only about one-quarter of the workforce now, by 2020 they will be more than half?

And, OBTW…2020 is not that far off!

My question: What is your firm doing about this? Our data indicates that some companies are figuring out how to stop fighting this trend and leverage it to make their employees more free and productive while also using it to make deeper connections with customers. If you are still scheming with security on how to squash this behavior, reconsider your strategy. BYOD is here.

And yes, I’m writing this from my company-issued, bulky PC even though I probably should have grabbed the iPad sitting next to it. Guess I’m showing my age!



BYOD in the Workforce


Thanks for the post. I have the exact situation in my team of 24 systems analysts. There are people who have decided to hand back their company issued phone and pc in favour of using the devices of their choice.

We don't pay of their mobility plans or their personal ISP fees. As a manager, I find these people to be highly motivated and capable. The longer term impacts on our organization will be in the areas of information security, privacy and possibly significant reductions in our capital expenditures for end point devices.

Thanks, Leo

Good to hear from you, Leo

Are you doing anything interesting around securing mobile devides. Just gave a brief the other day that looked as some of the thing folks are doing. End point security and IAM have upticked in security strategies due to the BYOD mobile mess.

MDM Pilot @ BCIT


Funny you should ask. We kicked of an exploratory pilot project last week to help us with Mobile Device Management. We just put the team together and will need to do some project initiation work before we move ahead. I would be happy to keep you in the loop as we learn about how to bring this capability into our portfolio of services.

Cheers, Leo

Great - please do

One of our tech trends this year predicts that more and more firms are turning to the new iterations of MDM solutions to holistically address management in a multi-device environment, but the tools are not comprehensive or completely integrated yet. Would love to hear if you find this to be true.

Additional thoughts

I enjoyed your commentary on the young woman working not on a company provided laptop, but rather, her personal devices. I referred to your post in a recent blog post of mine ( ) around how surprised I am at how quickly I've adopted my own devices for similar work interaction.

Cloud services make it possible for me.

I just spent 30 minutes writing up a staff evaluation on my iPAD and bluetooth keyboard. Thanks to our cloud email and office productivity suite it was easy to synchonize the work I did on my iPAD to my cloud corporate data. I can work whenever and where ever I want -- so I am happier and my productivity increases.

I think it might not take until 2020!

So what will it be like in 2020?

Thanks Brett, agree BYOD is here today. How far do you think it will go? If this is today, what will 2020 look like. I see the nature of human computer interaction changing do to things like motion sensing, object and voice recognition. Add that to data smart filtering and I think we will be interacting with the digital world in ways that mimic how we interact with the physical world.

As the workforce has shifted

As the workforce has shifted from hours to outcomes, the challenge in optimizing the amount of hours spent on a particular task falls on the employee which drives certain behaviors. For example, if I use my work laptop, I have to wait several minutes for it to boot, have to fight with forced system updates that slow me down, etc. My home devices simply are more time-efficient and time is money.

Companies are looking at this challenge through a variety of lens ranging from pushing software such as good technologies to employee owned devices. Maybe they need to revisit the notion of using a work device for home purposes as an alternative. You know, that legaleze disclaimer that comes up whenever you log into a windows PC.

NOTE: I would probably use my work device exclusively if I were guaranteed to work eight hours and only eight hours...