The Work/Life Balance: Does a BYOD Policy Blur the Line?

A “bring your own device” policy allows employees to do exactly that: bring their own preferred device to work. One of the advantages of such a policy is that employees can seamlessly integrate their work and personal needs on one device, whether a phone, laptop computer, or tablet.

Today, many employees count this among the things they look for in an employer. Does their employer allow for them to mesh their work and personal life in a convenient way? Can they work from home when necessary? Is their manager flexible about the needs that might rise from having a family—perhaps coming into the office late in the morning and leaving early to accommodate day care hours? Does their employer have reasonable vacation policies? For many, a BYOD policy fits nicely into the file folder marked “Work/Life Balance,” and inevitably, it further blurs the lines between what time of the day is for work and what is for personal use.

As many companies hurtle towards a liberal BYOD policy, the “work/life” balance needs to be taken into serious consideration. Is constant access to email and the company network the best thing for all employees? What new expectations come into play that weren’t previously in a typical eight-hour work day? Will constant access help employees feel less pressure about getting things done while in the office? Or will it only increase the stress about the work they’re expected to accomplish?

There certainly has been a lot of press concerning this topic of work/life balance lately. With Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banning any kind of “work from home” option for her employees, news outlets, bloggers, and interested citizens have all been crying out with their two cents. Many decry that it’s a move backwards for an evolving workplace. In the internal email that was leaked to the press, Mayer explains the reason in terms of the importance of face-to-face collaboration:

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”

Like Mayer, whose decision is really “more about the type of company (and culture) Mayer is planning to rebuild,” as Amanda Augustine, job search expert for TheLadders comments, other companies should be equally intentional. Many companies are finding themselves deep in the nitty gritty of a BYOD policy, outlining how to account for security concerns. As they sketch their written policies, companies should also evaluate the culture they’re encouraging with a BYOD policy. What’s best for Yahoo may not be what’s best for you. But in the ever-evolving workplace, it’s definitely worth taking a look at.

Does a BYOD policy change your expectations for employees as far as how much work they should accomplish in a given day? Comment below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Dell’s Official Flickr Page