Recently I’ve heard rumours that a handful of companies in the UK are considering adopting a “bring your own laptop” (BYOL) policy for new hires. Such a policy would make providing your own laptop a prerequisite for employment as a means of cutting company costs. In theory, it sounds like a good idea when you consider that most employees have their own laptops anyway. But practically speaking it’ a bad idea. Below are five reasons why companies should not institute a BYOL policy.
1. Control – One of the main reasons companies issue laptops to employees is to retain control issue. They want to be able to determine how a computer is used, how it connects to various networks, and the types of software and data stored on the hard drive. The minute a company institutes a BYOL policy it loses that control. As long as an employee does his job, it’s none of the company’s business how he uses his laptop otherwise.
2. Loss of Productivity – If employees start bringing their own computers to work you can bet productivity will go down. When they have a few minutes they’ll be editing their photos, updating their music collections, checking in non-work-related e-mail, and so on. Before you know it those few minutes eat into production significantly.
3. The Entitlement Mentality – Employees taking advantage of their employers through helping themselves to office supplies and other things is already a problem. If you start requiring your workers to bring their own laptops you’d better be prepared for a bigger problem. Many will assume they’re entitled to help themselves in exchange for the company having the free use of their laptops.
4. Software and OS Issues – While it’s true that Windows dominates the desktop and laptop market, not everyone uses that OS. I, for one, would not even consider putting Windows on my machine simply because my Linux system is not compatible with my company’s software. I use Linux and I have no intent of giving it up on my own personal laptop for my company’s benefit.
5. Liability Issues – Are companies prepared to assume added liability to protect their worker’s laptops? You can bet if a computer gets stolen during a business trip the employee is going to expect his company to replace it for him. This also opens up the doors for widespread fraud.
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