The "Bring Your Own Device" trend lets employees take the lead

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Flexible working, the agile workforce and employee mobility are terms that create a lot of buzz in the organisational HR department.

However, latest statistics from the CIPD paint a different picture of the modern workforce. With only 35% of employers offering mobile working arrangements and actual uptake as low as 14% within the workforce, there is clearly some way to go before we, as HR professionals, can claim that we've done our bit to free employees from the shackles of their desk.

Providing employees with the freedom to work in a way that maximises their productivity can genuinely empower individuals and benefit the organisation as a whole. And this idea of a static workplace is rapidly becoming redundant among a younger generation of employees.

These Millennials, or Generation Y, are digital natives who have been connected to a range of devices for most of their lives, unlike their elders where first contact with a computer was likely to have been in the office environment. They are at the forefront of the rise of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.

Being able to manage email via mobiles is a fantastic development. As mobile devices become more sophisticated and built on multiple platforms, workers also want access to applications and documents on the go without a break in user experience to maximise productivity. Yet without the correct infrastructure or support, this could frustrate your most effective and forward-thinking staff. Similarly, once an employee has benefitted from technology that allows them to work in the way they are most comfortable with, they are unlikely to want to change to a job that cannot accommodate this.

This is why flexible working is now hugely important to recruitment for global and fast-moving organisations. Proximity to a workplace no longer has to be a barrier to recruiting the most talented staff.

Of course, nothing can replace personal contact, and it is difficult to argue for a totally remote workplace. But granting the freedom and flexibility that employees need can help address the all-important work-life balance.

The BYOD trend is a great opportunity for organisations to let employees take the lead and define just what mobile working is for them. Implementing progressive IT policy and infrastructure allows workers to use their technology in the various ways that best suit them. The BYOD strategy implemented at AppSense, for example, has been hugely popular among staff since its launch and has helped to reinforce and underpin the idea of AppSense as a flexible and dynamic organisation to work for.

Mobile working may not suit every organisation, but being a company that develops people-centric IT solutions, it would be culturally at odds with our business if AppSense did not offer this provision to employees. We're living and breathing the modern idea of a workplace that our software helps to create, and still learning as we go. By granting the workforce the opportunity to steer how they want to work can help make sure we stay ahead of the pack in working conditions.

Being a responsive organisation, accepting change from within the employee body and evolving accordingly can prevent the need for catch-up tactics further down the line. Getting the best out of your workforce is the ultimate goal.

Katy Clough is vice president HR EMEA at AppSense, a provider of virtualisation technology

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