Bring your own device to work

Technology can be expensive. Computers, printers, copiers, monitors, and the like are all considered “essentials” in the church or school office today. And they all cost money…at least they do if we want something reliable and usable. Sure there are ways to repurpose old equipment and keep it going for “one more year,” but in the end the day to day computing operations of our offices cost money. In your budgeting process I’m sure you’ve begun to account for some of those costs, but probably struggle, like the rest of us to fit it all in.

One recent trend in offices and classrooms for that matter is a BYOD policy – Bring Your Own Device. Employers are beginning to embrace the concept that an employee would rather work on their own equipment, perhaps something they use at home…and at work. So they are working through strategies that would allow for that employee to bring devices into the office that they use for business purposes.

Here are the pros and cons of that scenario:

Pros

  • It can be quite cost effective for the organization as an “allowance” is usually provided to the employee to subsidize their equipment. The employee buys their own equipment, sometimes from an approved list, partially with funds provided by the employer. The employee can then use the equipment at work AND at home. Usually this comes in the form of a laptop. Employees are happy because their “personal” computer is subsidized by their organization.
  • The device is something the employee feels comfortable with and takes ownership of because they purchased it and use it for all their computing.
  • The employer can set a minimum standards policy for the equipment that is brought in (minimum computer specs, operating system, age of machine, antivirus software, etc.).
  • The employee is responsible for upkeep, maintenance and repair, so they are more likely to take care of the equipment.
  • Studies have shown that employees who have a computer they use for work at home are more productive and will put in more hours during the average work week to meet business demands.

 Cons

  • Employer must take extra precautions to protect their network from “outside” machines as they have less control over each device on their network.
  • Support of individual users' machines is usually more challenging because each one might be different.
  • Employees who aren’t tech savvy may become less productive as their machine ages and begins to have problems they can’t solve themselves.
  • Issues may arise if a computer breaks down before a subsidy is available and the employee lacks the funds to replace the equipment.
  • The employer may have to support a “mixed” environment if some employees don’t own their own equipment and others do.

It’s an intriguing idea that may or may not work in your situation, but I know in the case of some pastors I know it seems to be an option that is. Let me know if you have a plan that allows this and how it’s going.

By Martin Spriggs, WELS chief technology officer

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