Some people love the movement known as bring your own device (BYOD). Some even insist that it’s their right to bring their iPhones, Chromebooks or iPads to work. But I’ve always been wary of BYOD. Recent developments in how businesses see BYOD have moved me from being concerned to being downright worried.
What I have distrusted about BYOD is its potential to become the attractive carrot for the stick of cost-cutting. The BYOD concept was introduced with an emphasis on employee choice, but I never really bought that spin, and the recent developments confirm my fears. The whole point of BYOD, from the point of view of the senior executives who have embraced it, is to save money.
Take, for example, the state of California with its estimated $16 billion shortfall for the fiscal year. Money doesn’t grow on trees, even in fruitful California, so Chris Cruz, deputy director and CIO at the state’s Department of Health Care Services, decided to cut costs by no longer supplying or paying for smartphones at all but instead requiring employees to use their own smartphones — at their own expense. The state employee unions aren’t happy about this, so it isn’t a done deal yet. But it’s still a bad sign of what’s in store for workers.