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For Business
October 21, 2013

The ‘bring your own device’ debate

Around the world, companies of every conceivable size provide their staff with business devices (see our previous post on Enterprise apps for more detailed profiles on some of the businesses investing in communication tech for their employees), yet despite this, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to use their own personal technology when working.

Why bring your own device?

Why do people feel the need to bring their own gadgets to work? Is it because the true mobile masters out there have committed to a single device, and want to save the cognitive drain of switching between different systems at work and at home?

Or is it because businesses just aren’t providing their employees with the tools they really need? You wouldn’t use a hammer to chop down a tree, and you wouldn’t paint your house with a broom, so perhaps people who bring their own devices are just trying to ensure that they have the right tool for the job at hand? And what about the role of ego? As we’ve previously discussed ego has a role to play in our choice to bring our own device to work.

The benefits and risks

By allowing yourself to be playful with your digital tools you stand a much greater chance of achieving fantastic results when devices and purposes align with perfect synergy.

However, there is clearly a downside to bringing your own device to work. Besides the additional personal expense, there is also a very real danger present whenever the lines become blurred between your professional life and your home life.

By having only one device for both private and business activities, the temptation will always be there to monitor your work inbox at home, over the weekend, while in a restaurant, or when you should be focusing on friends and family. This is when the familiar demons of connection fatigue and eventual burn-out can begin to creep in; both big problems for happy minds and superior productivity.

Another potential threat to mobile mastery when bringing your own device lies in the inherent inconsistencies between device models and systems internally within an office. For a fast working team hoping to achieve the coveted flow-state of virtual telepathy, with each component functioning in flawless harmony, the fewer barriers there are to communication the better.

If some team members are using newer software than others or prefer devices with an alternative operating system, it’s going to create data conversion problems which interrupt the working rhythm. This is inevitable with the introduction of personal devices into the technological ecosystem.

There is also potential for security concerns when intermingling business information with personal devices. A common misfortune such as a lost bag or stolen smartphone could provide high-risk access to sensitive information, including financial data, passwords, and email exchanges.

Despite these concerns, there are positive sides to the debate as well. For many workers, bringing their own devices is a chance to work the way they want in accordance with their unique personal needs and eccentricities.

Everybody thinks in their own unique way, so why assume there is one catch-all solution for our universal needs?

Tinkering with your relationship to your device can open up the pathways to become better than previously thought possible, and it’s a process that never ends.

So in the ‘be everywhere at once’ world of mobile tech, in order for companies to thrive they need to fully embrace the capabilities of communications technology, and if they fail to recognise its significance they stand to face dire setbacks.

By equipping yourself with a versatile device such as a Nokia Lumia, staff get a brilliant phone that’s beautiful and fun, but hits business needs in terms of compatibility and security too.

So what do you think? Has the BYOD (aka: bring your own device) culture emerged because companies aren’t providing the tech their employees need? Or is the technology being provided not suiting requirements, forcing people to turn elsewhere for their needs? I’d love to hear you opinions on this topic… Are you pro or con BYOD? Do let us know in the comments section.

This article is part of Nokia’s Smarter Everyday programme, which aims to inspire you with the latest ideas on productivity, collaboration and technology adoption. To download our latest ebook Mobile Mastery visit