Although computers and printers can last for many years if maintained correctly, they eventually need repair or replacement. Computers, in particular, can become outdated and unable to use the latest software, which can be a significant hassle for companies that use more than basic word and spreadsheet processors.
Deciding to replace technology is never easy, especially for small businesses on tight budgets. However, there comes a time where it’s well worth it to replace aging computers and printers.
Technology that rarely works right creates a serious drain on employee productivity and can even make communicating with clients more difficult. Watch for these six signs that your office may be due for new technology.
Business Needs a Technology Update
1. Constant Error Messages
Although most error messages can be solved with some troubleshooting or easy repairs, they can take time away from projects and even make employees miss deadlines. In severe cases, a device simply may no longer be compatible with other devices or parts. If a computer, printer, or copier is frequently displaying error messages, it’s time to either call in a professional technician or replace the device.
In some cases, a mechanical problem can cause frequent jams or other issues in copiers. Getting the problem fixed can cost more than the copier is worth, especially for machines that are more than five years old. Carefully weigh the cost of repairs and, if in doubt, go ahead and get a new device. It’s not worth repairing a machine that may break down again in a few months.
2. Slow Connectivity
In a modern office, everything from printing to conference calls may depend on the internet. If multiple computers in the office are having trouble sending files, accessing web pages, or printing documents, then the cause may be the internet rather than each individual computer.
In some cases, you may need to talk to your internet service provider about an upgraded plan. Sometimes, an old modem could be the source of the problems. Start with an internet speed test, then check the modem’s specifications to see if it’s connected to too many computers at once.
Older office buildings may have old wiring that keeps the internet from being as fast as it could be. In that case, the internet company and landlord may have to be pressured into making an upgrade.
3. Presentation Problems
Not all offices give presentations during their meetings, and small businesses may be able to get away with minimal meeting room infrastructure. However, most will need a projector at a minimum. These days, smart whiteboards and other technology are more affordable than ever and can allow presenters to annotate and clarify images on the fly.
Of course, most presentations should be accompanied by a hard copy of relevant handouts. However, there are times when a presenter should be able to show graphs, videos, and other related visuals on a screen in order to communicate clearly. If your business has recently grown and has begun hosting more presentations and meetings, it’s time to invest in more meeting technology such as Brother printers and ink.
4. Poor Ergonomics
Ergonomics isn’t just about standing desks and proper armrests. Keyboards, monitors, and even copiers can be designed to minimize strain on the body. While back and neck problems are common, wrist and shoulder pain can be just as troublesome. If employees are quietly complaining about pain during the workday, their equipment could be part of the problem.
Adjustable keyboards and monitors are essential for any office. For workers who primarily use laptops, a laptop stand with an external keyboard may be a good option. Although buying new equipment may seem like an unnecessary expense, it can do wonders for employees’ morale and energy levels.
5. Lack of Features
In recent years, all-in-one inkjet printers have become much more affordable. These printers combine scanning, copying, and color printing into one device. Though color laser printers are expensive, they also tend to combine multiple useful features into one.
Although not all offices use scanners on a daily basis, having scanning capabilities in-house can save time and money. Large-format printers are another example of equipment that isn’t always used often but can be sorely missed when they’re not available.
On the other hand, be careful not to replace equipment with a new device that lacks necessary features. For example, some newer computers now lack CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives, which some offices need to access older files. Although external drives are always an option, it’s best to consult carefully with each department before replacing any computers or printers.
6. Inadequate Storage Space
Computers, printers, and other devices all have a certain amount of internal storage. While computers can often accommodate external hard drives, they can be more of a hassle than they’re worth if they’re slow to load files. As modern office files get larger and larger, computers will inevitably run out of space.
Printers also have a limited amount of queue space. In some cases, a printer may theoretically have room to queue the file but may be very slow to process it. Newer printers typically can queue hundreds of files with no issue, so upgrading the office printers may take care of that issue.
Cloud storage has improved significantly in recent years and can be an excellent investment for communicating with clients, contractors, and remote employees. Many new printers also allow employees to print documents directly from a cloud storage site. However, they are not an instant fix, especially for businesses that deal with very large files.
Making Room in the Budget
Large and small businesses can struggle to find room in the budget for major technology upgrades. Office managers and other leaders may need to sit down and set out a list of priorities based on which equipment is mission critical. For example, if an office has two aging black and white printers and a half-broken color inkjet, the color printer may take priority if it’s used for printing reports for client meetings.
Even if technology upgrades have to be spread out over several months, the end result is worth it. Investing in reliable printers and ink cartridges, computers, and other technology can help prevent missed deadlines and lost work time. A company’s future growth can be limitless if it has the infrastructure necessary to meet its full potential.