'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) can either be a blessing or a curse for your franchise operation. You get your employees to bring their favorite devices to work, in theory increasing their productivity because they are already familiar with the operation of their own personal devices.
However, you can't simply tell everyone to bring their own smartphones, tablets and laptops into work without creating a training course and BYOD policy. When developing a BYOD training program, you need to consider best personal-use policy, security practices, acceptable devices, required applications, infrastructure security and property damage liability.
1. Personal-Use Policy
A policy for personal device usage should be established to lay the ground rules for device usage at work. Such a policy should restrict or limit access to work-related tasks. Otherwise, staff members can end up spending time on Facebook and Twitter or texting friends-- all under the guise of BYOD.
Even with a policy in place, once you open the BYOD gate, it will be hard to limit personal use on company time.
And if you have multiple locations, this becomes an even larger problem because employees are often out of sight completely.
2. Security Best Practices
The IT department does its best to keep all devices on the business network safe, but there's only so much they can do with new threats popping up daily. Instead of putting the responsibility entirely on the IT department to handle issues, part of the training needs to emphasize the users' role in best practices for keeping devices safe. Teach the end users how to install anti-virus software on their phones, how to avoid data breaches for sensitive business information and teach helpful tricks such as avoiding open wireless networks with smartphones to get around easy data minefields.
Providing training for a BYOD is usually required. If you are a multi-unit operator, you may need to consider a quick "Go-to-Meeting" session to get everyone up-to-speed.
3. Compatible Devices
Some companies choose to have a specific list of compatible devices to make their lives easier. Instead of supporting 17 different Android phones and a smattering of iDevices, the business may choose to publish an approved hardware and OS list. Or, an even better, more flexible solution is to only work with web-based applications that have been engineered for mobile usage.
Working with web-based apps allows the IT department to manage cross-platform mobile devices with virtually no headaches and no employee grumbling over getting new phones.
So instead of having to deal with downloading from an app store, employees can just click a link or home screen icon and jump right to the web site application.
4. Required Applications
Some businesses need specialized apps and software for work-related tasks, while others get by with standard software. Don't make the employees guess at what they need to use -- tell them exactly what it is and how to use it. Otherwise, you're going to be dealing with a lot of employees who are so frustrated with figuring out how to work, that they're going to have to resort to playing Angry Birds to get something productive done. Enterprise app stores are one way to let the employee know exactly what apps to get, although a list of recommended and required apps also helps.
5. Damage Liability
One of the trickier parts of BYOD is who is responsible for damage to the device. Sure, it might be the employee's device, but when it's being used for work purposes, the waters get murky. Look into the BYOD policy to determine whether there are damage types covered by the workplace, or if the employee is wholly responsible.
You want to have policy makers consult a lawyer to figure out the employment laws surrounding this particular issue, as it gets quite complicated.
When you need advice on how to manage your multiple locations, connect with me on LinkedIn - we probably have a solution or two for you.