Businesses in Jordan and the Middle East believe that allowing their employees to use their own devices such as smartphones or tablets at work improves their productivity, according to a report by Cisco Systems .
“The top two perceived benefits of allowing employees to use their personal devices (including laptops, tablets, smartphones) for work-related activities were improved employee productivity  (more opportunities to collaborate) and greater job satisfaction,” said the report, titled “The Cisco IBSG Horizons Study of IT and Business Leaders”.
“Employees are turning to use their own devices at work because they want more control of their work experience,” the report by Cisco, a worldwide leader in networking, indicated.
According to the report, which was e-mailed to The Jordan Times, more than 76 percent of IT leaders in Jordan and the Middle East labelled allowing employees to use their own devices for work as “somewhat or extremely positive” for their companies.
“As the number of devices being brought into work increases, organisations need a comprehensive mobility strategy… organisations can now provide their employees with the benefits of working anywhere, anytime,” Ahmed Etman, borderless networks sales lead at Cisco Emerging Markets said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times on Monday.
Commenting on the report, Mohammad Khawaja, CEO of Startappz, said allowing employees to use their own devices enhances their performance.
“When employees feel their work is flexible and that they can work from wherever they are, even after office hours, they can contribute more to their work and be more loyal,” Khawaja noted. But this practice also entails some risks, he warned.
“Hackers can breach systems of companies through a worker’s device in some cases, especially if it is not well protected,” he said. “By being connected to work all the time, employees might lose some of their privacy as they may have to do some work while at home with their families,” Khawaja added.
A recent report by AG, a strategic information security consulting specialist in the Middle East, indicated that companies in Jordan must take action to protect their data and networks as more of their employees begin using smartphones for professional and personal purposes.
Companies in Jordan have seen a rapid proliferation of employee-owned devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, the AG report indicated, adding that these businesses should be ready to cope with the trend that their employees will use their own devices at work for both professional and personal purposes.
The Cisco study found that most organisations are now enabling employees to use their own devices for work-related activities with 95 percent of businesses saying their organisations permit employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace.
The Cisco report added that the average number of connected devices per knowledge worker is expected to reach 3.3 by 2014, up from an average of 2.8 in 2012. It indicated that IT managers are balancing security and support concerns with the potential to reap significant cost and productivity  benefits from allowing employees to use their own devices at work.
The report indicated that employees also want to bring their own apps to work. About 69 percent of employees in Jordan and the Middle East said that unapproved applications — especially social networks, cloud-based e-mail, and instant messaging — are “somewhat to much more prevalent” today than two years ago, according to the report.
“I have a BlackBerry and I respond to e-mails and proposals throughout the day even when I am at home,” Mohammad Abu Ali, a sales manager at a private company, told The Jordan Times. “It is important for the company that I can be reached and work anytime during the day, but that is stressful for me,” he said. “But sometimes I enjoy being able to do all personal calls and work-related activities from one device that I carry all the time,” Abu Ali added.