When did you last check your cellphone at work? Even if it wasn’t recently, you probably have an urge to look over some personal messages. If not, you may wish you could use applications on your home computer that aren’t included in your workstation.

Many teams – be they small or large – actually encourage this thinking. That’s why Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are rapidly growing in popularity. They allow people to use personal phones and computers in the workplace. Ovum, a media research organization, measured this popularity in 2012. Almost 60% of survey respondents in booming business markets favour sharing one device between their jobs and free time. That’s because there are many reasons why a BYOD policy can benefit you and your team.

People prefer their own laptops and smartphones

How many times have you been handed a phone or computer that doesn’t work well? It may freeze periodically or just rely on old, obsolete software. Of course, your own devices are almost always more efficient. They’re usually newer and have some personal touches, too.

This is why most people simply prefer using their private devices for work. An IBM survey indicates that 83% of people would rather carry their personal phone or computer into work than a morning cup of coffee. A Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group study found similar results. The organization conducted research with almost 2,500 people across 18 industries in six countries. Almost 50% of participants enjoy a BYOD policy. Only 30% prefer using corporate devices. This wide approval of BYOD policies is why the number of personal work devices in the six countries will more than double between 2013 and 2016. The number will grow from 198 to 405 million, to be precise.

Even if they don’t use personal devices for work, many of your team members may still carry them around. This means they go to the trouble of bringing multiple phones, or even laptops, to the office. Why not save them the trouble and extra weight? After all, a happy worker is a productive worker.

A BYOD policy saves time

Many people prefer their own devices because they save time. This happens for two reasons. First, workers are more comfortable using their own phones and computers. They can completely customize them to their liking. They’re also used to working on them. Company-owned devices, on the other hand, can take a lot of patience to master. This is especially true when someone needs to switch from a Mac to PC, or vice-versa.

Second, personal devices are often superior to the ones given out at many organizations. Not only are they generally newer, but the average user doesn’t hesitate to update software. Organization-wide software updates, on the other hand, can be painfully slow. On top of this, many people upgrade their old hardware or buy new devices all together. This means that personal devices are often more efficient than ones distributed by companies. By saving time, work days become more productive.

By now you might be wondering how much extra time you can salvage by working on your own device. The average BYOD employee saves 37 minutes per week, according to the Cisco study. This number varies between countries, though. Unfortunately for Germans, they only gain four productive minutes each week by using personal devices. The United States leads the way. Its workers save 81 minutes per week. That might not seem significant at first. But imagine what that month-long project could have looked like with an extra five hours put into it.

It sparks innovation

For small teams, and especially startups, nothing is more important than innovation. That’s why having a BYOD policy is so useful – it can encourage innovative work. This happens because a BYOD policy gives your team members more control of their duties. They can use applications that might be risky to put on a company-owned device, such as social networks and instant messaging, to spur research, communication and collaboration.

Team members create new, productive job roles for themselves as a result of this activity. These innovative responsibilities result in faster workflow, says Cisco. This is why 69% of participants in the Cisco study say applications on personal devices are increasingly valuable for meaningful work. The creation of new duties is also due to the personalities of BYOD workers. They’re more likely to join formal innovation programs than people who don’t embrace a BYOD policy, says Forrester Research.

Why hinder innovation? If you’re part of a time that depends on it, it’s time to become a BYOD workplace.

What do you think about BYOD policies? Why is, or isn’t, it worth implementing one? Share your thoughts in the comments below!