Do people really want to choose what they use?


The issue of letting staff choose and use their own laptops and phones is something dealt with previously on this blog.

Lots of possible benefits and plenty of good reasons for businesses to stop buying PCs and let staff use their own kit.

But flying in the face of the “if you build it, they will come” outlook comes a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. The report says that in some businesses as little as 14 percent of the workforce actually want to use their own computing devices.

That isn’t a very large number and for something that has received a fair amount of attention in the tech press, looks uninspiring.

There are some possible explanations as to why the findings from the report are so small.

We can’t rule out completely that the tech sector has over-hyped the issue of letting employees choose their own laptops and tablets. But the huge explosion in the popularity of smartphones and tablets doesn’t bear that one out at all. If people are buying those devices it’s because they want to use them and benefit from the flexibility they can help you achieve.

It has to be just as likely, maybe even more so, that this survey has picked up on a certain reluctance from participants.

It’s reasonable to expect that while some people will want to use their own smartphone, iPad whatever it might be, as their primary work tool, and to be able to work at any hour from any location, other people won’t want to feel they will be expected to be available during evenings and weekends.

It could even simply be that for some people, there is still an expectation that your boss should equip you to do your job.

The concern about being at your manager’s beck and call is something than can be addressed though. It’s a good thing to have policies and processes in business that let everyone know where they stand and what is expected of them.

As new ways of working develop, often in conjunction with the arrival of new technology, there’s a greater need than ever to be clear about everyone’s roles and responsibilities.

What do you think could be done to get people interested in this way of working? Whatever your take on this subject, why not share an opinion.

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