Using Your Own Laptop for Work

Some companies allow their employees to use private laptops and cell phones for work. What employees need to know.

I am a creature of habit and prefer to work with my own laptop and cell phone. Next month, I will start a new job as a field sales representative. My new employer has assured me that I can bring my own devices.

I was very happy about this. But now I am unsure. A friend told me that she would never do this again. She had a virus that paralyzed her laptop, which she caught through a business email. Because it was her private device, no one at work cared.

I still want to work with my own equipment. What can I do so that I don't end up like my friend?

Brigitta O.


"Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is the trend for employees to bring their own devices to work. This can work perfectly well if everything is clearly regulated.

Voluntary Decision

First and foremost, Brigitta must be aware: If she uses her own equipment for work, it is her voluntary decision. The employer is legally obligated to provide employees with the necessary work devices.

As a rule, private devices are integrated into the company's IT network and are subject to its usage guidelines. However, the employee remains the owner.

Ensure Safety

Before she puts her devices into operation for work, Brigitta has to ensure that they are equipped with suitable IT security measures. These should comply with the standards in her company.

Brigitta is also advised to have her device checked for malware in advance. This way, she reduces the risk of infecting the company network via her private laptop.

Brigitta's employer must ensure that her data is protected. Business and private data should be separated as strictly as possible. If Brigitta wants to be absolutely certain that no one can access her private data, she must encrypt them.

The Employer Bears the Costs for Business Use

The employer must bear the costs for the business part of the use of private devices, as well as for software used for business purposes and IT support. How high these are, however, is often difficult to estimate. The best solution for Brigitta is to agree a flat rate with her employer.

Costs in the Event of Damage

If Brigitta suffers the same fate as her friend and a virus paralyzes her laptop via a business email, then her employer is clearly responsible. He must provide Brigitta with IT support to fix the problem.

If IT support can't get Brigitta's device to work, she needs a replacement. The employer must pay for the cost. However, since devices suffer a loss in value, he only has to pay the current value of the old device.

If, on the other hand, Brigitta damages her laptop through her own fault, then she must pay for the repair or replacement costs herself.

Weigh Advantages and Disadvantages

Using your personal device for work has its advantages and disadvantages. If you know them, you can weigh them up against each other. This makes the decision for or against easy.


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