BYOD is a convenient and cost-effective way to encourage productivity in the workplace, since it allows employees to work remotely and do work on their own personal mobile tablets, smart phones, netbooks and laptops. However, BYOD – b
ring your own device – may also make it harder for your employees to balance their work and home life, which can lead to overworked, stressed out employees. Encourage your employees to strive for a healthy work/life balance and make the most of BYOD for your business.
Budget Time Spent on Work
When you’re working from home on your own device that you might also use to do things like check social media sites and watch movies, it’s easy for the boundary between the time spent doing work and having fun to begin to blur a bit. While you don’t want employees to get so comfortable that they goof off during work, you don’t want them to work so hard they feel overwhelmed or stressed by constant work, either.
A simple solution is to encourage each employee to document the hours they spend on work-related things, whether they’re paid hourly or not. Cut it off at eight hours, or if you’re working
overtime, know ahead of time how many hours you’re going to commit to working that day, and stop when you reach that number. If you hadn’t planned on working overtime, don’t let yourself work overtime just because you’re easily accessible.
When you’re stressed from working too much, your productivity suffers. Just because an employee is working out of the office on their own device, that doesn’t mean they should skip the breaks they’d get in a business environment. Set an alert that goes off every few hours, signaling that it’s time to take a 15-minute break. Do a quick workout or breathing exercise or simply have a cup of tea or coffee. Giving your eyes a break from the computer screen is an absolute must.
Shut Off Devices at Night
When the work-life line blurs, one or the other will get a disproportionate amount of your attention. Employees shouldn’t look at BYOD as an excuse to always be on-call and employers shouldn’t encourage that kind of thinking, either.
When you’re done working for the day, even if it means working a few more hours at home, shut off mobile devices. Enjoy time with friends and family or engage in an activity that doesn’t involve work or the web. When it’s time for bed, don’t leave your devices on. You need adequate rest to stay productive, and you don’t need the anxiety of thinking your work will contact you at all hours.
Find a Productive Work Environment
If much of an employee’s work is done outside of the office, it’s time to look at finding a suitable work environment. This place should ideally be free from distractions and be relatively quiet so you can concentrate on getting your work completed quickly and efficiently.
In other words, if possible, don’t work and watch children; hire a babysitter or ask a friend to help, even if you’re still in the same house in a quiet office. It may also be of some needed assistance to separate the work environment from some place you’d otherwise spend a lot of your down time, perhaps in a local library, park or coffee shop. Then, your body can start associating that other place with work and not with distraction. If possible, you can always take your device to the office to work; this helps encourage the work/life distinction even further.
Don’t Force Late Night Work Sessions
If there’s a project that requires employees to work outside of office hours and some are willing to do so, that’s fine. However, don’t stress employees by requiring immediate project completion in a night. For example, if one employee is asking another a question at midnight but the other employee has gone to bed, that’s okay. Let the second employee reply in the morning without penalty. To allow this, as the employer, you might have to plan ahead and make sure to assign work with as much advance notice as possible.
Don’t Require BYOD
BYOD might lead to an imbalance in work and life that is too much for some to handle. Perhaps they can’t find a quiet, productive environment to work in. Maybe it’s too hard for them to shut off devices when they’re done working for the day. A simple solution that an employer can provide is to make BYOD optional, not mandatory. Some employees may need to keep their work and personal devices and computer equipment separate in order to keep their work and personal lives in healthy balance.
Author Bio: Robin Torres is a contributing blogger and IT consultant. She recommends implementing BYOD, as long as work/life balance is respected and the proper data protection system is in place—Robin prefers Trend Micro for security needs.