Sep 12 2012

Do BYOD Employees Work More Without Realizing It?

Flexibility sometimes results in employees working around the clock.

The great thing about BYOD is that it allows people to work, anywhere at anytime, because most have their devices (a smartphone, tablet or notebook) on or near them throughout the day.

But BYOD can be a gift and a curse, as a recent study by enterprise Wi-Fi access firm iPass found. In that study, iPass reported that employees whose companies have rolled out BYOD policies are working an additional 20 hours per week more than non-BYOD colleagues, according to Tab Times.

The kicker? These workers are not getting paid more for their extra time, and they’re just fine with that. According to data from the iPass Mobile Workforce Report, 92 percent of these workers said they are content with the extra hours and don’t mind the trade-off in increased work for increased flexibility.

This ties into the rise of millennials in the workforce, that generation of workers who increasingly demand flexibility from employers, no matter what. They’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done, but they’re less interested in a treacherous commute to a corporate office park, where they have to sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day in order to appear productive.

Of course, some companies are taking the opposite approach. Volkswagen made headlines last year when it announced that it would prevent its servers from sending e-mails to some workers during their off time.

And some experts agree that it’s best for workers to unplug regularly.

"It's bad for the individual worker's performance being online and available 24-7. You do need downtime, you do need periods in which you can actually reflect on something without needing instantaneously to give a reaction," said Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre at The Work Foundation, in a BBC story.

Perhaps the best answer is that there are different strokes for different folks. Just as some people learn differently, there are also people who work differently. The challenge for companies is to provide work environments that meet company goals while tailoring to the individual work needs of each employee.

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