Monthly Archives: September 2012

Your Old Technology is Costing You Money: Or How to Know When to Upgrade

Hardware Upgrade

Image Credit: Tom Purves

The unfortunate reality about technology is that eventually it becomes outdated, which usually occurs sooner rather than later. When this happens, you have two options, upgrade, or continue using your old technology.

Usually, it isn’t imperative that you upgrade right away. In fact, you can often get along using your current technology, despite newer versions being released.

However, this can lull you into a false sense of security, thinking that your technology is fine and won’t need to be replaced for a long while, when in actuality it could be costing you more time and money than you realize.

So, how do you know when your technology is costing you too much; how do you know when it’s time to upgrade?

Here are some easy ways to assess when it might be time to upgrade.

The Technology is Slowing Down

When technology is older, it’s often much slower than its newer counterpart. However, slowness does more than cause frustration on the part of the user; it also causes a dip in productivity, which can cost your company money in the long run.

To determine if it may be time to upgrade, determine how many other machines you have that are of similar age and slowness. It may be time to upgrade if you realize that slowness may be impacting most or all of your staff across the board.

Your Old Technology Needs Repairing, Again

It may be time to consider an upgrade if you find yourself repairing your equipment more frequently than before. Over time parts wear and stop working. An occasional repair is fine, but just like a car, if you find that you are pouring more money into it just to keep everything running, it might be time to upgrade.

New Technology Can Enable You to Do More

New technology is often a blend of better hardware, corrected past mistakes, increased security protocols, along with some new, helpful features.  All of this means that aside from getting a faster performing machine, you’ll probably have access to features which help make your life a lot easier, enabling you to get more done in the same amount of time. The time saved could free you up to work on newer projects.

It’s Older than 4 or 5 Years Old

If your technology is from four or five years ago, or longer, it’s definitely time to upgrade. That’s because technology changes so rapidly, that its capacity doubles nearly every 18 months. (This phenomenon is known as Moore’s Law.)  If you think your old computers are “good enough” wait until you see what its newer, faster counterpart can do.

These are just a few ways to tell if it’s time to upgrade your office technology. If, after analyzing your situation, you find that you are in need of upgrading your entire office, don’t fret. We have ways of making a whole office upgrade affordable and budget-able. Contact us today to find out how.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you make sense of your technology needs. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

New Software: Wait Before You Evaluate

Evaluation Scale

Image Credit: billsoPHOTO

Late last week your office upgraded your main software. Now, it’s Monday morning, and you’re pulling your hair out, trying not to shout obscenities as you struggle to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.

But before you go badmouthing your new software, and requesting it be removed from your system (or the office entirely), try to give it at least a few days before you evaluate your software.

The Brain Trick

Our brains, in their infinite wisdom, always want to snap back to what’s familiar, at least initially. So when you first start using that new piece of software, it may send you signals about how difficult it is. It may even give you lots of reasons why you should go back to your old software. Don’t listen.

Instead, try to keep an open mind and remain judgment free, at least for a week or two. You should find that after even a day of using your new software, you’re a lot more comfortable with it, and therefore a lot less resistant.

If your brain is really making things difficult, try to seek comfort in the fact that you are learning something new, which is actually quite good for your brain, and remember that new skills take time to learn.

Keep Calm and Carry On

New software, even newer versions of the same software, often come with new tools and features. One of the easiest ways to reduce frustration when it comes to new software is to give yourself extra time when using it. Sure you could have gotten it done in 10 minutes using the old way, but think about how many hours you put into learning that system. The same holds true with the new software.

Giving yourself adequate time to use and learn your new software, along with reducing your expectations based upon past experiences, should go a long way to helping you enjoy the change.

Anytime new software is involved, there is always a learning curve. The important thing is to expect and understand this will happen, and not get frustrated when you can’t do something initially.

Over time, you’ll probably come to love your new software just as much as the old software it replaced, but you’ll never know how well it can work for you if you make snap decisions to remove it before you’ve even gotten a chance to use the software. When it comes to new software, do yourself a favor – wait before you evaluate – and you’ll be a lot happier with your experience in the long run.

Should You Monitor or Block Internet Activity at the Office?

iNet Protector 4

Image Credit: mihalysoft

Monitoring online activity at work is still a controversial subject. Many are concerned that putting such a system in place may potentially infringe upon employee’s rights and may cause hidden consequences in the workplace. Are these concerns founded?

While there is some truth to the concerns, by and large employers have every right to secure the internet in the office, but just because you can, does this mean you should?

It depends. The decision should stem from many factors, including your employees. However the most important factor you should take into consideration is the culture you are trying to perpetuate in the office.

How internet monitoring is deployed can make or break the culture, and can send strong messages to your staff. If done correctly, employees understand that it’s a way to ensure office productivity. If done incorrectly, it can send the message that you don’t trust your employees, and can cause paranoia in the office.

So should you monitor internet activity at the office? Well, that also depends. Here’s a list of pros and cons to help you determine if internet monitoring and website blocking is right for your business.

Pros

Increased Productivity

The obvious pro to monitoring internet activity is to increase office productivity by reducing non-work related internet activity.

Reduction of Viruses and Malware

Internet monitoring often gives you the ability to also block certain sites, which may help your company reduce malware and viruses on office computers.

Reduced Risk of Sexual Harassment / Other Charges

Monitoring and blocking internet activity can also help reduce the risk of sexual harassment and types of other charges, by reducing the ability to access explicit and inappropriate websites.

Cons

May Block Necessary Sites

Sometimes when internet blocks are too broad, it may actually impact your employees ability to get their work done, particularly when a site the actually need for work is blocked.

Could Signal Distrust

Depending on how the monitoring and blocking is done, you could signal to your employees that you don’t trust them, which could impact office moral.

Could Infringe on Employee Rights

Suppose an employee is dealing with abuse issues at home, and they use the company internet to research their options. Your IT guy notices this, and for whatever reason decides to discuss it with yet another employee in the break room. Now the first employee’s secret is out, about a sensitive issue they may not be ready to discuss with anyone, let alone the office. While this example is extreme, it does happen.

A Better Way to Monitor

Instead of blocking the internet entirely at the office, try these solutions as a better way to monitor the internet. Your employees will thank you for it.

Inform of the Internet Policy

Don’t just implement the internet policy without telling anyone, and certainly don’t bury the policy deep within your employee manual. Instead, take the time to inform the entire office of the change, and the reasons for implementing the policy. Then, have new employees read, and sign, the internet policy rules separately from the employee manual, to help them fully understand what they can and can’t go on the internet at the office.

Block Sites, Skip Keystroke Logging

If possible, try blocking sites only, instead of also logging keystrokes. This helps you reduce the obvious offending sites – pornographic sites, Facebook, etc. – without blocking all access to the internet, and without obtaining information such as usernames and passwords, which get logged with keystroke software.

Designated Surfing Time

Instead of blocking the internet all the time, give employees certain periods of the day – say lunch time – where they can surf the web unhindered. This shows that you understand the importance of them needing to balance their work and personal life, without letting it get out of hand in the workplace.

Similarly, you could also create an internet café in the break room, with computers that have open internet access. Businesses often give employees access to snack and soda machines, and give smokers smoke breaks, so why not let your employees take an internet break?

These are just some ways you can help take the pain out of monitoring internet activity in the office. Has your office implemented internet monitoring or website blocking? What did you do to reduce employee concerns?


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help make your office culture a little bit better. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.