Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the new norm when it comes to smartphone policy in the workplace, with 54% of employees worldwide having the option to use their personal devices at work. By the end of 2017 it's predicted that 50% of medium- and large-sized companies will require employees to provide their own device. Traditional corporates have reaped the rewards of effective BYOD policies, but how are non-desk workforces (retailers, restaurants, hotels) responding to the new demands of BYOD - and how does having one help their business?

Retail and foodservice has been enduring a massive shift in workforce composition, as the Millennial generation now making up over 50% of the global workforce. Millennials are digital natives with non-traditional preferences when it comes to communicating, learning, exchanging ideas, and getting things done. Forward thinking retailers have recognized this, and are finding ways to adapt their communication styles to be more effective in connecting with their current (and future) workforces. Many top retailers are already using BYOD to their advantage, so what are you waiting for? Here are 8 ways a good BYOD policy can help your organization:

1. Leverage Existing Behaviors

Let's face it: employees are already using their phones at work. A study from the Pew Research Center found that 20% of employees use social media at work to get information that helps solve their problems. Having a BYOD policy encourages this self-starting behavior and shows other employees that their phones have value to them at work besides checking Snapchat in the break room. 

2. Increase Trust

Despite the fact that 61% of employees say they use personal mobile devices for work, approximately only one third (34%) of employers have set BYOD policies in place. When staff are using their own devices but are unsure of their organization's stance on the matter, it leads to sneaking around, using the devices in secret, and an overall decline in trust between managers and associates. Having a clear BYOD policy in place allows employees to know exactly what they can use their devices for at work and lets them know that their managers trust them. 

3. Save Money

As technology becomes more prevalent in retail and foodservice (i.e. mobile devices to check inventory stock or kiosks for customers to order unavailable items online) the cost of operations are increasing. Allowing employees to bring in their own devices not only saves you from buying a large quantity of devices for your staff, but also saves you from having to update a fleet every couple of years, as people tend to update their personal devices regularly. 

4. Recruit Top Talent

Top talents have their pick of organizations to work at, so you need to make your workplace their number one choice. One way to do that is to have the technology that they want and need. 82% of Millennials say that workplace tech has an impact on whether or not they accept a job offer. The best way to make sure that your employees are getting the tech they want? Let them bring in their own. 

5. Improve Workplace Logistics

Frontline employees use technology and social media for organizing shift swapping, asking coworkers work related questions, and creating personal connections with their peers. All of these activities are vital to the smooth operation of your organization. Allowing staff to use their personal mobile devices to do these tasks through a chat software make the logistical aspects of their jobs happen much more easily and quickly. 

6. Increase Employee Productivity

The average American BYOD user saves 81 minutes a week by using their personal device. Comprehensive BYOD adoption also allows employees to work more innovatively - with their personal devices on hand, associates can accomplish tasks right when they are given, access digital schedules and training information, and view product and promotional information in real-time. 

7. Provide Better Customer Service

70% of shoppers think that that know more about the products than the store associate, and 55% think that store associates are important to a good shopping experience. Mobile devices allow associates to provide better customer service by quickly looking up the answers to questions they may have, accessing upselling tips, and learning about current promotions on the go. Mobile can give employees access to information unavailable to customers and allows them to provide a prompt and informative experience. 

8. Increase Employee Engagement

All in all, having a good BYOD policy in place will contribute to better employee engagement. Increasing trust, making associates' jobs easier, and giving them ways to interact with each other all motivate employees to enjoy their jobs and do better work. This is especially beneficial, since providing a great employee experience is the first step to achieving a great experience for the customer.  

The number of employee owned smartphones and tablets is on track to exceed 1 billion by 2018. Mobile technology is transforming and modernizing workplaces, and implementing a solid BYOD policy is just one of the ways you can leverage this transformation. BYOD isn't the future of workplace technology, it's already a reality for most corporate offices - so it's now time to bring it to the frontline. 

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Lindsey Goodchild

Lindsey is the Co-Founder and CEO of Nudge Rewards. Lindsey’s work is dedicated to helping the non-desk workforce use mobile technology to make life at work better every day. When she’s not working, Lindsey can be found dreaming up her next big travel adventure, being active in nature, or cozying up with a good read.

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