Why BYOM is the next iteration of the hybrid working revolution

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We can all agree the discussion around whether knowledge workers will return to the office in force or in a hybrid approach will depend greatly upon a company’s culture, location, and several other factors. Plus, the return to the office brings with it a new set of expectations for what meetings will look like. While there’s still some uncertainty over the extent to which our working lives will be permanently changed, one thing is clear — hybrid working is here to stay.

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Martin Bodley is Director & Global Head of Bose Work at Bose Professional.

But when travelling or working remotely, the hybrid option isn't always accessible. This could be due to available equipment, network restrictions, conflicting time zones, or technology limitations. So what can employers do to make the experience as simple and as seamless as possible for their staff? The onset of mass hybrid work has seen the evolution of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) into Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM).

What is BYOM?

The BYOM concept — which allows staff to access virtual meetings from their own devices — is a great way to combat these issues. Most people have their preferred ways of communicating, so tapping into these preferences makes for a more seamless experience. If they are in the office, employees benefit from in-room solutions in meeting rooms to collaborate more efficiently with their remote colleagues too.

What’s important is how the personal device the employee is using connects with corporate networks and hardware. Within a BYOM environment, if the employee’s device connects seamlessly, it can deliver a personalized, user-centric experience — even controlling the room technology from a personal device. In a hybrid work model, employees can use their own devices to accomplish tasks from their home or the office, invite colleagues into sessions, and collaborate with co-workers anywhere, without interrupting their workflow and using systems they are familiar with.

Since the start of the pandemic, 50% of employees have had at least one to three hours of virtual meetings per week — so it’s important to get the experience right. Those numbers have undoubtedly increased as devices have become more portable and nearly ubiquitous in our daily lives. A BYOM approach takes this to the next level as it encourages more workers to use their personal devices at work.

The benefits of a BYOM strategy

One of the many reasons businesses are facilitating a BYOM strategy is because of its near-immediate implementation. Once the relevant meeting room technology is installed, it’s immediately accessible by employees. By enabling employees to use devices they recognize, organizations can make collaboration easier — particularly given the prevalence of video conferencing — since staff will be more inclined to embrace hybrid meeting environments and huddle rooms.

After struggling for so long with limited in-person interactions, social connectivity with colleagues increases satisfaction and builds a strong workplace community. In the era of the Great Resignation and high rates of turnover, BYOM could form part of a strategy to help reduce the frustration and disengagement that can lead to job dissatisfaction.

Communication also improves in BYOM environments since workers are likely to receive notifications through the personal devices they keep with them. This especially benefits nomadic work, such as manufacturing sites and other situations where workers spend significant time away from their desks but still need to receive important information and connect with colleagues.

BYOM and its impact on IT

Companies that decide to transition to a micro-distributed team model still want to provide the same collaboration opportunities that are available at their headquarters, creating huge demands for IT and unified communications staff. This is accelerating changes in on-premise and cloud-based tools by two to five years, according to Gartner. IT directors, managers, and leaders need to be prepared to onboard and train the staff needed to support these digital efforts.

IT leaders should also keep in mind that the transition is expected to increase spending on public cloud technologies to 51% of total spending by 2025, Gartner notes. Establishing collaborative connections through the cloud can bolster hybrid and BYOM work models, so being prepared for the right cloud technologies today can help a BYOM model tomorrow. Other ways that IT teams can prepare for an increased BYOM capacity include expanding VPN range and enabling wider use of unified communications (UC) meeting and collaboration tools, to allow employees a variety of options that suit them.

Building a strong BYOM culture starts with IT teams educating staff on the benefits of using collaborative tools. Then, IT leaders need to make sure they have the tools and technology on site that enable employees to connect their personal devices securely and efficiently when they visit the office. For example, tools that allow employees to easily adjust the volume, screen positioning, and zooming of meetings from their smartphone enhance the BYOM experience.

As hybrid work becomes a deeper part of work culture, BYOM models are set to be part of this environment. Employees allowed to work remotely have already cited the convenience of operating in a familiar environment. Businesses and their IT teams are at an important juncture and where possible, must implement systems that connect the physical workplace with hybrid options to provide full flexibility.

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Martin Bodley is Director & Global Head of Bose Work at Bose Professional.