Many organizations allow employees to use personal devices for work. A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy can serve learning programs well, especially as L&D leaders explore new technologies for delivering learning content in the flow of work.
As you read this sentence, where is your personal cell phone?
If it’s not in your hand, it’s likely no further than an arm’s length from you at work, at home, and in between.
Your employer knows this, too. And in recent years, companies have recognized that what they once perceived as a workplace distraction could be transformed into an asset. For one thing, using mobile devices can save an employee 58 minutes per day and increases productivity by 34% (Frost & Sullivan).
To capitalize on this tremendous potential, someone somewhere had a great idea and coined the term BYOD. Today, the market for software and technology to manage a BYOD workplace has ballooned and is projected to exceed $75B by 2021.
Clearly, if BYOD isn’t the norm, it’s well on its way.
BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. In the workplace, a BYOD policy explicitly allows employees to connect to businesses systems on their personal cell phones, tablets, and/or laptops at work—and outside of work—to get things done.
BYOD isn’t news, but the future of BYOD remains a topic of interest as business and IT leaders keep an eye out for anything that will further the digital transformation of work. Business leaders are also understandably drawn to data on the cost savings of a BYOD-friendly workplace, which has been shown to save $350 per year, per employee (Cisco).
Compounding the overall business benefits, a BYOD policy also has clear, positive impacts for learners and L&D programs.
L&D teams can benefit from the cultural impact of a BYOD policy.
An organization that allows employees the freedom to use their own devices is one that considers and values the preferences of its workers. A BYOD policy sends a clear message to workers and helps create a frictionless, positive employee experience—of which a positive learner experience is an important part.
Employees who are required to use devices unlike their preferred personal technologies may experience frustration when making the switch at work. The differences in user experience between, say, Apple and Android, creates at least a mild dissonance and can slow the user down.
BYOD eliminates the need to switch and makes work life—and workplace learning—easier, because learners are able to navigate apps more quickly. They also aren’t burdened by carrying two cell phones, and can work remotely without having to bring home their company laptops.
Eliminating friction means learners get to your learning content more quickly and with a more positive mindset.
Having happier learners means better learning outcomes.
A BYOD policy allows L&D programs to seize the advantages of self-directed learning.
When your learners use their own devices, their learning journeys can become more independent. Having access to learning on both home and work devices allows learners to complete learning at their own pace and also gives them the option to learn in their own time.
For example, without a mobile learning option, field staff and other remote learners who don’t routinely use computers may only be able to access training opportunities by traveling to a local office and using a loaner. With access to learning via a mobile app, these learners can avoid the time and cost of travel and bring learning into the flow of work.
Related Read: 3 Tips to Provide Effective Training for Remote Workers
It’s no surprise that the accessibility and convenience of personal devices translates to greater learner productivity.
With BYOD in effect, your learning programs are more portable and training opportunities are easier to access. This, in turn, effectively removes what can be a barrier to course completion.
In its 2019 Workplace Learning Report, LinkedIn found that 74% of learners want to learn in their spare time at work. When learners can do so on their own devices, it becomes much easier.
BYOD learning also dovetails effectively with a modern microlearning approach.
For example, employees with a gap between meetings could watch a 10-minute video course on their mobile devices. Integrated within an LMS or LXP, completion of that learning activity would be recorded and tracked as part of their learning journeys.
More on Microlearning: 4 Ways L&D Can Maximize Learning Technology for Hyper-Connected Learners
Managing the Security Risks and Concerns of BYOD
Allowing employees to use their own devices does raise concerns about the security of systems and business data. Employees, too, have concerns about their privacy and the security of their personal apps and data when they connect to company systems.
For learning specifically, learning content must be delivered through a secure platform. Your LMS or LXP should conform to and accommodate appropriate guidelines, checks, and back-up procedures.
For some organizations and some employees, the risks outweigh the benefits of BYOD. But for many, technologies, training, and clearly articulated policies and procedures provide sufficient data and privacy protections. Even with limited adoption, organizations have much to gain by formalizing and expanding their BYOD policies. The benefits of taking an employee-centric approach to technology clearly warrant the investment—for learners and for the business as a whole.