productivity

Organizations are constantly trying to improve their employees’ productivity to stay ahead of the competition.

By Brad Harding

Many teams need access to critical business data in order to make timely business recommendations. However, before organizations can improve productivity they need to understand their infrastructure and business needs. We recommend a two-pronged IT infrastructure approach to increase productivity, starting at the company level, and then the employee level with desktops. Here are some quick tips for IT teams to help improve SMB workplace productivity.

Company-wide:

  • Take inventory of existing infrastructure: Before making any changes, be sure to determine how your IT infrastructure supports your business processes and goals, and determine if there are any technology gaps.
  • Reign in your software expenditures: Now that you have taken a hardware inventory, look at your software. Managing software can be complex and expensive. Think about deploying a software portfolio management solution that will help your organization align your actual usage with business objectives.
  • Update, update, update: Regular updates from software vendors address security glitches and ensure the product is working at full speed. Updating employees’ software on a regular basis ensures high performance and enhances security.

At the individual desktop level:

  • Break the start-up applications bottleneck: One of the reasons PCs often take a long time to boot up is the number of applications that need to load. Even though they run in the background, they slow computers down. Employees can easily disable programs they don’t need upon startup by using Task Manager on Windows 8 and Windows 10.
  • Deflate the cookies and cache bloat: Browsers tend to hold on to everything employees do, from looking at emails and browsing the web to using online banking sites. Cookies are helpful time-savers, as they store usernames and passwords from particular websites, but they can also cause problems on PCs. The cache is used by internet browsers to speed up page loading, and this process saves itself in a file on computers. Over time this file will build up and eventually slow down computers. It is best to clear all browser data, cache, and cookies regularly to prevent this from happening. Most browsers will have a Settings menu, where employees can clear cookies and cache.
  • Activate the virus scanner: IT teams should run antivirus programs regularly to avoid any security faults. It’s critical to ensure antivirus software is always up to date, schedule regular scans once a month and only install one version because two can slow down speeds.
  • Defrag the hard drive: Hard drives have spinning-platters with data stored on them. As this data builds, the hard drive becomes overloaded, causing decreased speeds and reduced productivity. Most operating systems have a disk defragmentation program to boost the efficiency of a PC, which will reorganize data for better performance. If a SSD is installed, defragging is done automatically.
  • Max out the memory: Almost everything a computer does (booting up, moving the mouse, opening and running Word, typing, and more) requires the use of memory or DRAM. Older computers struggle to keep up, but a memory refresh can improve speeds and performance.
  • Consider installing an SSD: Slow, outdated technology not only wastes time and money, but it can be incredibly frustrating. Unlike regular hard drives, solid state drives (SSDs) have no moving parts. Replacing an antiquated hard drive with a SSD enables near-instant load and boot times, so computers can power on quickly and immediately load apps – enabling users to get more done.

Once these steps are completed, it is up to the employees and the IT teams to ensure that digital tools continue to support and increase workplace productivity. This means the above list should be completed twice a year. Seem like a lot to do? Think again – following these easy steps will improve workplace productivity, improve the bottom line, and give businesses a competitive edge.

​ Brad Harding is the Tech Guru of Crucial.

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