The Apple Watch and the workplace: is BYOD a good thing?

Published: 01 May 2015

The phenomenon of ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) has grown as employees look to bring their own smartphones, tablets and laptops into the workplace.

That means that every technological innovation must be examined for its usefulness in the workplace.

The advent of wearable tech – which has already been growing but could really take off thanks to the Apple Watch – is only likely to speed up BYOD even further.

If our tech is such an integral part of our lives that we’re wearing it then it may grow even more ubiquitous than smart phones.

Teksyte analyst Rodney Gedda told Computer World: “Businesses will definitely have to handle bring your own wearables.

“Organisations already have wearables coming into the workplace and as they become more prolific, then they’ll be like the smartphones before them, able to read and view company data on the device.

“That should be a concern for IT managers because on one hand you have the productivity promises of people using their own technology ... but you’ve obviously got to balance that with the potential risk that having unmanaged devices on the network brings.”

Positives

It can clearly make life much easier if you use your own equipment as an employee, especially if you’re someone who has to work from home or on the go.

Getting meeting reminders on your watch could be extremely handy – as could a subtle ‘buzz’ notification of a message so you can have a discreet check of who is trying to get in touch.

For employers, it’s always best to encourage working practices that staff appreciate and if you have tech-savvy staff who want to use their own items then why stymie their creativity? It’s maybe even worth bunging in your job advert if you’re looking to attract that sort of employee and foster a creative tech-fuelled environment.

From a selfish point of view your business might also benefit from kit you couldn’t afford to issue as standard. For now the Apple Watch is likely to be an extension of the smart phone but, over time, there could be more uses that boost productivity.

Caution

So, that’s settled then? Whack your watch on and get to work? Maybe, but it’s important – as Gedda stressed - to have your eyes open when agreeing to any BYOD situation. Yes it’s convenient and allows you to be flexible but, as an employee, it’s important not to let this impact on your work/life balance. If your work can contact you through your watch is that a step too far? You’ll need to weigh up that up against the convenience factor.

Businesses also need to be cautious. It’s important to keep an eye on all of the devices and software used by all employees for security reasons. BYOD clearly makes that more difficult and whenever a new product, such as the Apple Watch, comes along it poses a new challenge. All firms need to develop a BYOD policy and review that for every new device. Just like the employee, you’ll need to weigh up if that’s worth the benefits.

It’s clear that employees will soon be sporting wearable tech such as the Apple Watch. It could be an opportunity for businesses to boost productivity and cash in on the latest technology – provided both sides are comfortable and manage it properly.

Back to listing