Two different, but interrelated, phenomena have been occurring over the last decade that are radically reshaping the work environment at many companies. The first is commonly referred to as the “Consumerization of Information Technology.” The second is the blurring of the line between work life and personal life experienced by many employees.
One result is the rapid adoption of mobile devices by employees—including iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, and other devices. Due to their ease of use and the functionality enhanced by hundreds of thousands of free or low-cost applications available for these devices, millions of employees have begun using them to perform work. Recognizing this, a growing number of companies have struggled to create new policies that allow employees to use their personal mobile devices to create, store, and transmit work-related data. These new policies turn an employee’s personal device into a “dual-use” device, one used for both personal and company data and activities. This trend is generally referred to as “Bring Your Own Device” or BYOD. Some companies even allow their employees to replace their work laptop computer with their own personal PC, which is sometimes referred to as BYOC.
This Littler Report examines the development of this irreversible trend and explores the very real and immediate challenges—both practical and legal—it creates for employers. Thereafter we set forth a series of recommendations to assist employers in mitigating these risks as the BYOD movement continues to reshape the workplace and even the concept of “a” workplace.
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