Should You Compensate Employees for BYOD? [Updated in 2023]
This post was originally published on February 27, 2018 and has been revised for clarity and comprehensiveness.
Reduced operating costs, greater mobility, and enhanced flexibility are just some of the benefits your business can yield from a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. With all those advantages, it’s no wonder more companies have adopted the practice. However, that also brings up two crucial questions:
- Should you compensate your employees for BYOD, and
- How much should you reimburse them?
Several US states have labor laws requiring employers to reimburse employees for the use of personal devices. For example, if you’re in California and Massachusetts, you are legally obligated to do so. On the other hand, if your organization operates in states like Las Vegas, then there are no laws regarding BYOD. But that doesn’t mean you can avoid addressing the issue in your policy.
Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) is an IT support company that has helped hundreds of businesses address BYOD issues through the years. In this article, we’ll help you navigate any issues you may have with BYOD reimbursement.
Should You Be Reimbursing Your Employees for BYOD?
That is a tough question to answer with a yes or no. Different companies have their own unique circumstances. With that in mind, you should take a realistic look at your organization’s expectations around mobile usage to determine whether any compensation is due.
Here are two important things to keep in mind:
- If you view mobile devices as essential work tools in your industry, that should clearly indicate that you should provide a stipend.
- Additionally, if you require employees to install mobile device management (MDM) tools on their personal devices to enforce security, that should also be a sign that you should be providing compensation.
How to Reimburse Employees for BYOD?
The biggest hurdle in BYOD reimbursement lies in the details. To calculate compensation, you would need to track the business use of a device accurately. Unfortunately, that’s where things get murky. That’s because while tracking employee hours is easy enough, monitoring whether a device is being used for work is another story.
Generally speaking, a mobile device will show the amount of data used but not if it was used for business or personal purposes. That’s partly why many companies either foot the bill or settle on a standard reimbursement rate. Itemizing business use might be more trouble than it’s worth. While it is possible to do so, installing the tools necessary to track that kind of data might cost you more.
How Much is the Average Mobile Phone Stipend?
According to an Oxford Economics survey published in July 2022, businesses and public sector organizations provide their employees an average mobile phone stipend of $40.20 monthly. That adds up to $482 per year for each staff member using their personal device for work.
Smaller companies tend to provide lower stipends averaging $30 per month, but monthly reimbursements of between $30 to $50 are also common. Only 18% of companies paid more than $50 per month for their team’s mobile phone usage.
Why Do You Need a Strong BYOD Policy?
BYOD might yield many benefits to your company but it also carries many risks. Whether it’s privacy issues, legal challenges, or cybersecurity, you need a strong BYOD policy to protect your business.
A BYOD policy consists of guidelines that determine what your employees can and cannot do when using their personal devices for work. Although the major priority of this type of policy is to ensure the company network’s security, it should also take into consideration the end user’s accessibility to work files and the employee’s privacy.
Additionally, it should clearly explain how your company will handle personal devices, as well as any monetary compensation or lack thereof.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing BYOD in the workplace. Designing a strategy that works for your organization requires expert knowledge of your IT landscape. For that, you can turn to IT service providers who can give you expert advice on navigating the challenges and avoiding any issues down the line.
Ready to Plan Your BYOD Strategy?
BYOD allows for greater mobility for your teams by enabling your employees to use their personal devices instead of company equipment. It can also reduce operational costs by unburdening your organization from the cost of buying and maintaining equipment for your employees.
But there’s a caveat.
If you want to take advantage of those benefits, you must also understand that your employees need to agree to those terms.
If you’re considering whether or not you should compensate your team for BYOD, ask yourself the following:
- Are mobile devices essential tools for your organization’s success?
- Do you require your team to install MDM tools on their personal devices for security purposes?
If the answer to both questions is yes, consider compensating your team members.
At ITS, we’ve helped hundreds of businesses plan their BYOD strategies for 20+ years now, so they can take advantage of them effectively and securely. Find out how we can help you do the same by scheduling a free assessment. Or, you can check out the following resources for more info on BYOD:
- [Video] What is Bring Your Own Device and Why Your Company Needs It?
- How to Set Up a Secure BYOD Policy on a Windows Environment
- Top 3 Security Risks of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Policy