Technology has become so prevalent today that it’s difficult to image an office without a gizmo or two.
Even the swivel chair that goes up and down is part of this high-tech hype that’s been transforming the typical workstation for decades.
A modern office is unimaginable without technology, but not all office tech is made the same. There are certain standards that each and every piece of workstation equipment has to meet before it can be handed over to the workers.
In fact, here are the 9 things that you should consider when procuring office technology.
Needless to say, all the equipment workers handle needs to be 100 percent safe. There shouldn’t be any exposed parts, bare electrical cables, etc. These can cause an electric shock and other types of injuries.
Each product you order needs to be tested twice: first in the factory, during the assembly, and then when it arrives in your office.
After you unwrap everything and connect it to a power source, try a few test runs to see if everything is in order. This goes for even the most benign of appliances, like the copy machine.
When you are shopping for equipment, make sure the safety seal is intact; it’s a sign of high quality control standards. After the machine is put into action, get feedback from your staff to make sure everything is in order and the equipment does not jam or overheat after extensive use.
A Full Demonstration
The installation process is actually quite important for new equipment. Although you are the end-user, don’t install machines on your own.
Licensed technicians should be hired either by the seller or by you as the buyer to install everything properly. After everything is hooked up, ask the technician to do a test run in order to demonstrate the full capability of the equipment.
Also, don’t forget to ask about the maintenance and proper operating procedures. Your staff needs to be informed about these, so organize a briefing or put together a memo.
Paying the Ultimate Price
Since technology is widely available today, most of the high-tech gadgets you acquire should be relatively inexpensive. However, cheap stuff tends to break down more often and, in general, doesn’t last as long as high-end products.
In fact, this is the main factor in the price difference, because both cheap and expensive gear functions the same.
For instance, copy machines might differ in the total number of sheets of paper they can print during their lifetime.
An expensive fax machine will likely break down less often and remain operational for a longer period than its cheaper equivalent.
All of these factors should be taken into consideration, as the ultimate price you pay is not the price you pay during the initial purchase.
It is often wiser to spend a few extra bucks now in order to save money in the long run.
Ask for More than One Quote
If you have a large office, your office supplier will fervently want to secure a deal with your company.
This is where the free market comes into play, as your supplier may try to sweeten the deal to beat their competitor.
Of course, before your supplier can offer a competitive quote, you have to approach several suppliers and ask them for an estimate.
You will be surprised how much a simple, “But, their quote was cheaper,” can bring the final price down.
If offered, always go for a prolonged warranty period because you save money on repairs and maintenance this way.
Secondly, you can use the possibility to bulk buy equipment if you deem a supplier safe and reliable to work with.
This is often the case when you are furnishing a new office space and want to “rejuvenate” all the gear.
Sellers will jump at this opportunity and offer you a wholesale discount that you won’t be able to refuse.
Of course, never put discounts ahead of the safety of your staff and the quality of the equipment you are purchasing!
Any warranty longer than 5 years is a good deal. However, the length of the warranty is not the only thing you should take into consideration.
Business owners often buy novel and untested foreign brands that come with a much lower initial price.
Even if such brands live up to the promise of quality, the question of where to obtain spare parts may become a concern after just a few years.
Like cars, office equipment also needs spare parts and if there aren’t any available locally, the repair costs skyrocket. Ordering spare parts from abroad will cost you both time and money that you cannot afford to waste.
Even national military forces can have issues with spare parts that have to be outsourced from abroad.
That’s why quick research of the suppliers in your area will ensure that you don’t end up with an expensive piece of gear that is beyond repair.
A “Vertical” Workstation
When it comes to ergonomics, most business owners fail to innovate past a comfortable office chair. The reality is that many posts, especially in the manufacturing industry, require the workforce to carry out tasks while standing.
This is not a comfortable pose to work in, so as an employer you need to do your best to alleviate back pain workers might feel.
This can be achieved through the use of stand up desk mats which are anti-fatigue.
They are mostly made from PVC and they come in all shapes, patterns, and sizes. You can order them online and choose a pattern that will fit in perfectly with the design of your office.
No matter how progressive the technology you introduce is, the end-users are still going to be people.
This is where the science of ergonomics comes into play.
Essentially, the parts of machines or computers that are in direct contact with the human body should be as comfortable and ergonomic as possible.
A good example of office ergonomics are keyboards.
They are often made flat which is a faulty design because it adds unnecessary strain to wrists.
An additional pad makes a world of difference to the common worker who will be ecstatic that she doesn’t have to twist her hands when sending an email.
Furthermore, computer monitors should have an anti-glare feature to prevent eye-strain.
Increasing productivity through the introduction of new technology should be accompanied by a higher level of worker satisfaction.
The Environmental Footprint
Speaking of the workers and their feelings, an increasing number of people are becoming eco-aware. Furthermore, new laws are always being passed to protect the environment.
This being said, the environmental footprint of the equipment you purchase has become an important factor.
When browsing the market for products you need, look for eco-friendly items. They are usually marked with a green seal and the manufacturers point out the characteristics right away.
These often include an improved manufacturing process and decreased use of electricity. It is in your best interest to purchase such technologically advanced equipment because it uses less electricity to operate.
This will especially come in handy with heavy-duty machinery like those used for typical warehouse logistics.
Leasing versus Buying
Most of the items we have listed so far, you can definitely afford to buy. An anti-fatigue mat or a personal computer is well within your company’s budget, but it’s not a bottomless pit.
Bigger and more expensive machines cost a lot of money and while you can get a discount or use credit to acquire them, there is a cheaper option.
Leasing technology is something that business owners often forget to do, but this method has the potential to save them thousands of dollars.
If you need high-tech gear for intermittent jobs, then leasing is a better option than buying.
Choosing proper workstation technology today is actually more complicated than it was a mere decade ago.
With so many novelties hitting the market each year, entrepreneurs find it hard to select the things they need.
The 9 things we have listed here are general guidelines that apply to nearly every business, from a creative IT office to a bustling warehouse.
Ergonomics, safety, pricing, and functionality are all factors that need to be taken into consideration when creating a productive workstation.