Would using your own laptop or mobile phone for work make your job easier? For some people, the answer is yes, and many employers agree. According to a study by Tech Pro Research, almost three-quarters of organizations allow employees to bring their own devices to use at work.
While these policies—known as BYOD, or bring your own device—can help cut costs for employers, it can create headaches, too. “BYOD can be great for startups or small businesses that don’t want to spend money on computers or equipment, but the risks include loss of information and privacy concerns,” says Suzanne Lemen, founder and CEO of Dynamic Corporate Solutions.
If your employer has a BYOD policy, it may reimburse you for all or part of your device and your phone and data plan. In a recent case, a California court found that employees who use their personal phones for work must be reimbursed for a “reasonable percentage” of their bills. While the case applies only in California, many employers are reviewing their own policies.
In companies with BYOD policies, the IT department may have recommendations on which devices work best with the company’s existing tech. It’s likely they’ll have rules, too.
Employers may also have policies that make it unattractive to use your own device, such as reserving the right to access and search all devices used for work. That policy may give employers the right and ability to wipe business and personal data from it if necessary, in the event you leave the company or the device is lost or stolen, Lemen says. It may also limit what you can download onto the device or who you can let use it.
Regulatory compliance is also a concern. Employees who use their own devices at work can put an employer at risk of violating a variety of federal and state laws, Lemen says. If you work in a BYOD environment, pay attention to any policy you sign and be aware of any data you may have on your device.