Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Work/Life Balance

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Work/Life Balance

Pruthikrai Mahatanankoon (Illinois State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch365

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) occurs when employees use their own smart devices (e.g., laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) to perform work and personal tasks, supported by organizational information and communication technologies (ICTs) policies. BYOD can lead to positive and negative effects in the workplace. Although employees may be aware of the legal and ethical consequences when using corporate-owned devices for non-work-related activities, they generally feel that BYOD provides a perceived sense of personal freedom leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

This perception can benefit the workplace in several ways. First, productivity gains can be achieved anywhere and anytime. Smart devices are constantly connected to organizational network infrastructure, bringing a new dimension to intra and inter-organizational communications, enhancing corporate data sharing and social networking. Second, these smart devices provide linkages to a massive source of information—the Internet. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) empowers employees to obtain new knowledge and skills related to their current tasks and responsibilities. Third, organizations can reduce the costs of purchasing and servicing workplace computers and infrastructures. Lastly, BYOD can be psychologically liberating for employees, allowing them to engage in playful or leisure activities while at work.

Organizations must be willing to invest in wireless network infrastructures and information systems security. Investing in wireless networks is based on the assumption that employees may bring more than one device to work. With countless varieties of current and innovative smart devices, the existing wireless infrastructure may not be adequate to keep up with unanticipated network traffic demands. An effective BYOD policy must address wireless security concerns. Without the policy, negative or unintended behaviors can lead to costly, unforeseen consequences. Table 1 summarizes the benefits and drawbacks of BYOD.

Table 1.
Benefits and potential risks of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
    • Formal and informal learning
    • Information sharing
    • Job autonomy, creativity, motivation and satisfaction
    • Real-time collaboration and communication
    • Social networking, bonding and relationship building
    • Stress reduction
    • Work/life balance
    • Extended IT policies and protocols
    • Legal liability
    • Loss of trade secrets
    • Loss of confidential information and reputation
    • Cost of maintaining additional infrastructures and services
    • Productivity loss
    • Wasted network bandwidth; degraded or disruptive network service
    • Workplace deviant and illegal behaviors

Key Terms in this Chapter

Quality of Work Life: Workplace hygiene factors that support the well-being, decision-making and job satisfaction of employees.

Pathological Internet Use: Excessive Internet usage from people who use the Internet as a means of coping with their personal problems or current personal difficulties.

Internet Usage Policy: (IUP): An organizational policy, handed down to employees, that governs the use of the Internet in a specific workplace. The goals of a IUP, if properly written and implemented, are to help organizations communicate proper Internet usage behaviors, lessen employees’ perceived expectation of privacy, and reduce costly litigation that may occur from the use of Internet monitoring and filtering software.

Personal Internet Usage: Voluntary on-line web behaviors during working time where employees utilize any of the organizations’ resources for activities outside current customary job/work requirements.

Work/Play Balance: The balance between work and play that increases the quality of work life.

Psycho-Socio-Technical: Factors that contribute to the impact of psychological, social, and technological aspects.

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