Survey finds over a third of firms expect to stop providing computing devices to workers by 2016 as popularity of 'bring your own device' schemes grow

Growing numbers of jobs could require employees to bring their own laptop, tablet or smartphone to work in the future, a new survey has found.

According to Gartner's global study more than a third (38%) of firms are expecting to have stopped providing devices to workers within the next three years.

The forecast for 2016 has been prompted by the growing popularity of 'bring your own device' (BYOD) programmes in the workplace.

Gartner vice president and analyst David Willis said the benefits of such programmes include creating a more mobile workforce, making employees happier and cutting or avoiding the costs incurred by employers.

He predicted that the legacy would be to expand employees' access to data and applications while stimulating innovation.

BYOD strategies enable employees, business partners and other users to choose and buy their own device. It is then used for work purposes and to access data and applications. The strategy can sometimes include devices subsidised by the employer.

Mr Willis said: "BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades."

The analyst said introducing BYOD programmes can help drive business innovation by increasing the number of mobile app users in a workforce while rolling out applications to employees can throw up more opportunities than traditional forms of communication.

He said applications covering everything from time sheets and employee self-service HR applications to site check-in and check-out details are just some which could benefit from BYOD strategies.

However, Mr Willis, said there is still a need for the business case for BYOD strategies to be "better evaluated".

He added: "Most leaders do not understand the benefits, and only 22% believe they have made a strong business case. Like other elements of the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, social and information), mobile initiatives are often exploratory and may not have a clearly defined and quantifiable goal, making IT planners uncomfortable."

Mr Willis advised firms offering BYOD programmes to show the organisation involved the benefits it can bring to both employees and the business.

Copyright Press Association 2013