With the increasing number of people buying MP3 players many business managers are facing how to regulate the use of them at work and how they can be beneficial to managers. Having them in the work place creates many advantages as well as disadvantages. They are a great way to keep employees up to date and ready to be prepared as possible. Employees also see it as a great perk to have a MP3 at work possibly making them happier and more willing to get their job done but it can also be a distraction to some employees tempting them to stop working and watch a movie or listen to music.
The main advantage for managers is the ability to deliver training and educational materials to employees through Podcasts. Podcasting is a technology that allows individual and organizationss to send multimedia content to an audience on a regular basis. The user simply subscribes to a certain podcast feed and then the content is downloaded to the users computer or iPod when a new podcast is available. The user does not have to go looking for information and is not tied into accessing media at a specified time.
Through podcast managers are able to tell employees exactly what they need to know and they are able to have that information at all times unlike phone messages or emails which may expire or get deleted.
The downside of using iPods for training and sending other materials is that all employees will have to have an iPod which can be expensive for the company or the employee if they have to purchase their own. Also if employees are paid on an hourly basis then employers must make sure they get paid for watching things on iPod on their own time.
One of the biggest concerns managers have with iPods in the workplace is the security risk they pose for different reasons. The device can store more than just music and some have as much memory on them as notebooks making it possible to download confidential information such as personnel information, trade secrets, or third party copyrighted information and take with them. Many users do not think to use antivirus software on their iPods opening up networks to viruses especially if employees use work computers to download music or video files from an illegal source.
In order to control the security risk companies may be able to control input and output through all USB ports, identify approved devices by using digital signatures, allow only specific applications to write to removable media and provide a complete audit trail of device usage.
Managers also have to consider the negative effects on workplace communitcation, performance and safety.
There can be a communication breakdown between managers and employees as well as coworkers because it may be difficult to get someone??™s attention when they are listening though headphones. It may also send out a message don??™t bother me unless it is important. If they are played through a computers speakers it can be disruptive to other coworkers causing an inability to concentrate