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Study: Restaurant hourlies want to use their own phones for scheduling, training

Could bring-your-own-device policies help workforce woes?
Photograph: Shutterstock

More than half of hourly millennial workers (57%) would prefer to use their personal mobile devices to access their schedules and training materials. What’s more, almost 7 in 10 hourlies think that with the right app, they’d have an easier time picking up shifts, according to a new study from digital workplace platform WorkJam.

There’s no denying that scheduling an hourly workforce is one of the challenges managers face, especially in today’s labor environment. And it’s likewise a stressor for employees: 61% of frustrated employees cite scheduling and communication as pain points for why they left a job, finds the study, which polled 1,000 hourly employees across several industries, including hospitality, retail and logistics. 

Workers in the hospitality industry were more likely than any other industry to say they would use their personal devices to access information such as scheduling changes and training materials. Which begs the question: Should restaurant operators be considering more bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies? 

In-house tablets can be expensive and at risk for breakage and theft. Binders with training materials can be overwhelming and become outdated quickly. Paper schedules aren’t accessible to those not in the restaurant and are hard to update. With the amount of time Americans already spend on their phones, an app for these tasks has the potential to eliminate some of those issues.

“We’ve come a long way from the days when personal devices were frowned upon in the workplace,” says the report. “Today, our smartphones enable us to do more, and employers who continue to bar their employees from using them are falling behind.” It also says that companies with bring-your-own-device policies are cutting operating costs and seeing an increase in productivity. 

But the BYOD idea isn’t without its faults, namely security. Training materials can potentially contain sensitive informationthat brands don’t want to leak or be compromised. And there are also personal security questions related to how much information is shared about employees via the app. Operators would need to be careful about how this information is shared and what platform is used to build it. 

Other potential questions for BYOD policies could include sanitation and on-the-job productivity. While personal devices used for scheduling and training could have a clear upside, operators would need to enact even more clear policiesabout when hourlies can use their phones while on the job.

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