GovLoop - Knowledge Network for Government

"Does BYOD Boost Productivity?" GovExec reports on GovLoop survey reports on BYOD survey by GovLoop...

Does BYOD Boost Productivity?
By Brittany Ballenstedt

October 29, 2012

The majority of federal employees want their agencies to implement a policy that allows them to use their own devices for work, with many arguing that doing so will lead to cost savings and improved productivity, according to a new survey by GovLoop and Cisco.

The survey of 108 GovLoop members found that 62 percent of respondents believe a bring your own device, or BYOD, policy would be desirable or extremely desirable at their agency. At the same time, only 20 percent of respondents indicated that their agency has implemented such a policy.

Still, many respondents indicated that despite their agency’s lack of a BYOD policy, they still use personal devices such as smartphones for work purposes. They use their personal phones for email (41 percent); social networking (21 percent); entering time, expenses and business functions (13 percent); and reading and writing (30 percent). The majority said they do not use their personal tablets for work purposes.

In addition, respondents were nearly split on whether the government should provide a device to employees. Fifty-six percent said the government should provide devices to employees, while 44 percent said the government does not need to provide devices.

Respondents noted several benefits of implementing BYOD policies at agencies. Among them was allowing people to work on the devices they find most comfortable (71 percent), improved productivity (58 percent) and cost savings (55 percent).

“One of the benefits is that if a person is very proficient on a device, they should take that proficiency into the workplace, rather than learning how to be minimally proficient with the government-provided device,” said Kimberly Hancher, chief information officer at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in the report. “I can’t overemphasize how important personal productivity is across the enterprise.”

While federal agencies are not required to implement a BYOD policy, the White House in August released a toolkit for expanding BYOD and other mobility options for employees, citing benefits such as improved productivity and work-life balance among employees.

The majority of respondents to GovLoop’s survey also agreed that BYOD policies could provide additional benefits to agencies in terms of recruiting and retaining workers. Fifty-six percent of respondents said that a BYOD policy could serve as a retention and recruitment tool, with some noting that it would demonstrate that agencies are forward-thinking and efficient, particularly to the Millennial workforce and teleworkers.

Still, several respondents noted roadblocks to BYOD implementation at their agency. The biggest roadblock was perceived to be a lack of organizational support (57 percent), followed by no IT infrastructure to support multiple devices (55 percent) and costs (19 percent). Respondents also cited security, reimbursement issues and inconsistent IT policies as other roadblocks to BYOD implementation.


By Brittany Ballenstedt

October 29, 2012

To learn more about the challenges, benefits, and best practices for BYOD, check out GovLoop's report, "Exploring BYOD in the Public Sector."

Tags: BYOD, Bring-Your-Own-Device, GovLoop, productivity, survey

Views: 487

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion reports AGAIN on GovLoop BYDO report and related GovLoop discussion...
Brittany B. writes in the "Wired Workplace" column:
"There’s an interesting conversation going on at GovLoop about the blog post I wrote late last month on GovLoop’s recent report on bring your own device, or BYOD, policies and the ability of such policies to enable cost savings and boost employee productivity. One of the major drivers of BYOD is the potential costsavings for federal agencies. At the same time, agencies face a major hurdle in determining how to reimburse federal employees to ensure they are not personally incurring the cost of increased data usage from work-related activities. GovLoop Community Manager Andrew Kzmarzick notes in the report that agencies might consider overcoming this hurdle by looking at other ways in which government reimburses employees."

Check out the new GovLoop report (and blog by Pat Fiorenza), "Exploring BYOD in the Public Sector"

Pat writes:

"GovLoop has just released our latest research study, Exploring Bring Your Own Device in the Public Sector. The report highlights the challenges for implementing a Bring Your Own Device initiative; best practices, and provides insights from industry and government experts related to BYOD. Specifically, the report includes:
Survey from 103 members of the GovLoop community on challenges, best practices, and benefits of BYOD.
Interview with Kimberly Hancher, CIO at the EEOC about the BYOD program at EEOC
Interview with David Graziano, Director, Security and Unified Access, US Public Sector Cisco
Overview of the White House BYOD Toolkit
Provides next steps to implement BYOD at your agency"

Thanks for sharing, David!

Thanks for all of your awesome work on this topic, Pat!

One of the beefs of the local high schools with BYOD is the lack of expertise in combining the device with the classroom effectively - not to mention the far fewer than expected participation.  Maybe in the case of the government, if the agency and the employee could see eye to eye on the exact use, it would benefit each side more.  It is the future and we must embrace it (albeit carefully) acknowledging that there will be a transition period.

And I wonder if fear from lack of understanding by the teachers or in this case, employers, is another roadblock.

So nice to see all this interest and information on the topic.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Elizabeth. 

The GovLoop staff has done an outstanding job in keeping this conversation front and center. Moreover, the GovLoop team deserves accolades for their informative BYOD report.

Also, Elizabeth, I like your comparison of BYOD in the school system. I believe some or most public schools allow students to bring mobile devices, but then ONLY permit their use during non-class time. This policy appears self-defeating from an educational standpoint. BYOD may work better in private schools because of smaller class size, greater oversight, and closer collaboration between students and teachers.

Regarding government, BYOD appears here to stay – as echoed in Terry’s awesome comments below. I think many government managers do have a good understanding of BYOD and want to embrace it just as much as non-managers. Yet major change is always slow and laborious in a massive bureaucracy.

You may want to check out a lengthy blog I wrote back in May: BYOD and Beyond

Thanks again for your comments and contributions to this discussion, Elizabeth!


When my kids were in high school, we couldn't afford such 2002 and 2004, a cell phone was a "luxury" item.  I am sure you find that most families cannot afford Iphones for their children with all the bells and whistles.  This should be taken into consideration.  You will have WW3 on your hands if BYOD goes the way of free breakfast and lunch in school.

Julie, while I agree that in 2004 a cell phone was luxury, today it is commonplace.  I don't know a single student at my teenagers' school (largest in state) who does not have a cell phone.  And I don't know a single friend of my children who does not have access to portable internet, whether it be a nook, ipad, ipod or a smart phone.  We are not wealthy either.  I suspect there are areas in the country where this is not true but all around DC metro area it is the rule.

Teachers and schools ARE incorporating them into academics - it is slow and an expected learning process, but it isn't because the kids don't have them.

I think rather than fight the inevitable, the government is wise to be at the rise of technology. Forget WW3, think W3 (a really cool technology website.) People are bringing them to work; people are on them everywhere - restaurants, airports, schools, galas, poll lines, buses, ... the world is changing and the US should be ahead of the curve.

wow...what school district is that?.  I am guessing it's not a title 10/20 school.  Connectivity "is" a problem in rural areas especially in the south.  You get "dial up".  Cell towers are few and far between. Dropped calls are commonplace. I don't have $400.00 4G Iphone and I sure wouldn't buy a teenager one either.  It seems the work economic situation with the feds in DC is just tripping the light fantastic, while here at our military installations, we are pinching pennies.  I am guessing most high school students have a cell phone, however, I can bet they aren't high dollar Iphones.  In the high schools here in most of NC, cell phones can be taken from students if they ring in class and detentions are given out if you are caught text messaging during class.  I know an Iraq veteran whose child attends a local elementary school.  Technology would go a long way in helping this little guy.  He has very poor vision and while stationed in California, the school system there had a magnified touch screen computer.  Here, the school system says it's too costly for just "one" child.  So they just put a magnification overlay on the computer which is very distorted.  Technology costs money, whether it's the school system or the mom and pop at home trying to afford the basics to keep their kid prepared. If my kids were still in school, there is no way we could afford an ipad for each of them, much less a smart phone. 

Yes, people are bringing them to work.  I doubt DoD and DoN are allowing them to be plugged into the network.  If they are, it's not here. I could see Dept of Ag, or Do Justice, or Commerce, but not Defense.  Heck, they are wringing their hands over allowing us on the "cloud".  As for the airports, buses, etc.  No way would I walk around in public with a high dollar device.....that could easily get ripped off.  I live in the real world.  The US is ahead of the curve, it just depends on "where" you live on that curve, and the fed agency where you are employed.  While you may be able to stream music, discuss your innovative ideas on social media, IM a coworker down the hall or in the next building, view LinkedIn during work hours...all of that is prohibited where I work.  (on an unclassified computer)

Outside the beltway is a whole other world. The government is wise to be at the rise of technology, but it needs to spread fairly across all agencies and areas.  For me, I don't want to have to buy IT for work.  It's beyond my pay grade for such a requirement.

Well I certainly don't speak for any "DC Feds" - I am just a wannabe. I am fascinated by your implication of disparity within federal gov agencies and office locations. I had no idea.
But I also see some general negativity in your remarks. Sure, a new iPhone would be costly, but used iPods (or older smart phones) are not. One does not need an iPad or a laptop to use technology in school. Some schools use texting features of student phones to promote interest and deter kids from using the more unsuitable features of their devices during class - because again, they ALL bring them to school. Rather than "fight them, many schools have decided to join them" because they are here to stay.

More relevant to the topic though - BYOD- I am led to believe, from the few articles I have read on Govloop and other blogs, is about government employees using the device they already own and are comfortable with, to make their job more satisfying to them and more productive. Are agencies looking to require employees to buy devices? I cannot imagine the nuisance of carrying a blackberry for the job and a cell phone for personal use. Obviously there is in place, already, some consideration for not using a personal device in an inappropriate agency (ie DoD.)

Do you not have the power within your work place to improve this sad situation? Are things completely out of your hands? Are there future plans in place to install more current technologies at your job? Have you made suggestions to supervisors? Is this even possible? I am very interested in workings of various government jobs and would love to hear what power you have to improve the situation you are in. Am I crazy to think that we all benefit in this country from efficient and technologically advanced government workplaces regardless of which state they are in?

And if schools in rural NC are still using dial-up, there is indeed, quite a chasm. The large school district here is supplying e-texts to students for a good portion of classes, with no option for a traditional book at all. And a vision for more and not less, along those lines, is what the future holds for these kids.

I can understand how cumbersome it must be to carry a blackberry and a cell phone.  As a GS on the single number grade, I see no reason why I or anyone in this grade step area would need to be tethered to their work.  I know GS12 and above, managers who have gov paid for blackberries, not forced upon them, but because they "wanted" one.  My manager, did not and turned his in.  Yes, there is a disparity between sub agencies.  It's called "funding".  I agree used Ipads are not as costly, however, the "plans" that go with are.  There are many families who cannot afford this.  Re; dial up.  I was referring to the "homes" of the students vs. the school itself. I too have read articles on BYOD.  I have talked to my manager who is very pro technology and is in agreement with myself and co workers.  They don't want Uncle Sam on their personal devices, period.  If you know anything about DoD it is stacked to the ceiling with policies/regulations/ etc.  So it is written, so let it be done.  Our IT office adheres to these rules and regulations some of which have been in place since the late 90's.  No, you are not crazy.  I too think we all benefit from efficient technology, especially in the workplace.  The cost is a factor.  If you read other blogs, you will find that are segments of the fed service who do not want the fed on their personal devices.  As a typewriter was provided for 303's back in the day, so should tech be provided for employees.  I work in semi industrial.  We cannot be mobile and agile.  We are "in place".  Another myth about feds, we all don't work in offices.  Some of us repair/refit, ships, subs, planes, GME fleets, and facilities.  Military installations....depending on the branch are funded accordingly.  The Air Force gets the most funding.  The other 3 are subject to debate.  The agencies sponsoring the branches in other states, work with the tech handed to them by the Feds in the upper tier...aka, DC.  We are regulated what to purchase, how to purchase, how to use, what we can use, what we cannot use.  Thumb drives have been banned for years for security reasons.  A suggestion was to have the IT dept hand out thumb drives, coded if you will, so they won't work in any computer unless it's a ".mil".  This is forward thinking and a good work around security issues.

I appreciate your forward thinking and suggestions.  It is difficult however, to implement or suggest when an employee is "bound" by regulations prohibiting what will move the gov forward.  Now if "funding" could be a topic and "how to do this" without compromising security....or forcing me to use my own device....I'm all  :o)


© 2014   Created by GovLoop.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service