Sometimes "wear and tear" is considered a badge of respect. A beat-up jalopy sitting in a driveway isn't merely a dilapidated mode of transportation, but a life's story on wheels. Every dent, ding, scratch and scrape has its own explanation – the first time a parent handed over the keys to a first date to the first unsuccessful attempt at installing a complicated toddler car seat. An old car has life's little firsts all rolled into one piece of machinery. It's practically part of the family.
Sorry to ruin the daydream, but that same sentiment doesn't carry over to office technology. Though someone might think a missing button eye or patch on a stuffed teddy bear might be endearing, a broken touch screen or a finicky piece of misused equipment spells frustration for any employee stuck using it everyday. Busted devices can ruin productivity and make it harder for employees to do their jobs quickly and efficiently. Protecting office technology from cyberthreats is one thing, but how can businesses save their devices from everyday accidents?
Cracked touch screens are perhaps the most infamous of all handheld technology mishaps, so popular in fact spider-webbed screens have actually become a sought-after status symbol for teenagers across the world, according to The Washington Post. Moreover, CNet reported in 2013 almost one-fourth of all iPhone users have chipped or smashed screens.
For anyone who owns these devices, it's obvious why. Their structure is rather delicate, and certain shoppers might be reluctant to purchase extra accessories at point of sale after dropping good money on the device itself. As a business leader, fight those urges. Obsolescence can give any company owner an excuse to update beat-up technology, but the trend doesn't fair so well against machinery that stands the test of time. If a company preserves its tablets, the next generation won't vary enough from one previous to warrant a trade-in. But if the devices have seen better days, spending might appear unavoidable.
"Every company laptop needs its own padded carrying case."
Invest in standard hard-shell cases for the body of every device, including vehicle mounts and hip clips. Every company laptop needs its own padded carrying case. Additionally, research protective coatings for screens, especially for any handheld device that sees its fair share of travel. Deep nicks on touch screens especially can compromise the piezoelectric properties that allow users to operate them with only a finger.
Withstanding the elements
Half of a handheld device's appeal is its free-roaming qualities. Employees can work from anywhere, and in the right setting, productivity can enhance above and beyond what could be done at a stuffy desk. But just because a laptop or tablet can go anywhere doesn't mean it should. Certain environments are particularly risky for electronics.
Especially during the summer months, heat and prolonged direct sunlight can have an adverse effect on a device's ability to operate. When turned on, these machines usually require some form of exhaust fan to mitigate their heat generation. However, if a work laptop was left in a car parked in the sun all day then turned on, it could chemically alter the hardware within, causing it to pass along unbalanced currents, according to the Small Business Chronicle. The result could be a fried hard drive full of pertinent company data. So much for working on the go.
Every business should have a firm office technology system in place, one that may require an afternoon or two of training before handing off supplies to employees. While no manager or supervisor wants to turn into the Big Brother of company tech, relating liability issues to employees interested in renting out equipment could be as enlightening as it is preventive. Elaborating on differences between personal technology and what's owned by the company at large can help extend the life of business assets, not to mention keep the coffers full for the next doodad that piques an employer's interests.
Office technology industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.