While bring your own device (BYOD) programs that encourage employees to use their personal iPhones, iPads, and other devices in the office increases productivity and employee satisfaction, the trend is also turning those employees into workaholics. That’s not entirely a new realization – we’ve covered the potential impact of the BYOD trend on the work/life balance before (including a recent study that showed that BYOD programs actually improve that balance for IT professionals).
The latest research on BYOD’s impact on workers shows two additional insights – a significant number of employees are footing the bill (sometimes a very big bill) for mobile data service while on the road for work.
The new data comes from iPass, a company devoted to offering mobile professionals secure and consistent Wi-Fi access at sites around the world. iPass publishes a quarterly report called the iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report. The most recent report was released last week and shined some light on the toll that BYOD takes on many mobile workers.
The most shocking finding is the average cost that BYOD programs leads to each month — $1,089 — largely for mobile data roaming fees.
While that’s the average cost, 43% of mobile professionals have encountered an expensive data roaming bill in the past year. On average, mobile workers see an expensive bill 1.4 times each year.
81% of mobile professionals said that mobile data roaming charges are too high and 23% said that such experiences have led them to turn off whenever they are traveling for work.
Nearly one in five (18%) mobile workers report that they pay their entire bill for mobile calling and data use, making BYOD an expensive proposition when traveling for work.
A similar number (17%) said that their companies pay for mobile roaming and, as a result, don’t know if they are being charged fairly or not.
That unseen cost can add up quickly, and BYOD undermines the ability for companies to keep mobile service costs down – even when the company is paying the bill (or a portion of it) for its employees. That’s because individual employees don’t have the negotiating power of many companies, particularly larger enterprises. One or two devices and related data plans simply don’t get the bulk sayings or business clout that 500 or more devices and plans can achieve.
Not surprisingly, four out of five (80%) of workers who travel for business prefer to rely on Wi-Fi and many (85%) feel their company should foot the bill for commercial Wi-Fi services.
The report also reiterates the fact that many companies don’t implement adequate security and user training as part of their BYOD programs. 25% of businesses are still failing to demand security features on BYOD devices overall and 19% don’t require security on devices that access corporate networks and data. Meanwhile, 48% of mobile workers admit they bypass IT restrictions in order to access corporate data.
As far as the work/life balance – employees reported working as much as 20 hours per week outside the office as a result of BYOD initiatives and one-third feel that they never fully disconnect from work and technology. Despite those numbers, a large portion (42%) of mobile workers are willing to sacrifice personal time for the flexibility that BYOD offers them.