Five reasons why investing in better equipment will help your business

Here, Saul Malpass discusses the main reasons for a small business to invest in new technology.

The latest technology can aid a small business in many ways

The latest technology can aid a small business in many ways

Here are the main reasons for a small business to invest in new technology.

1. Efficiency through technology

According to a survey by Microsoft, 93 per cent of millennials cite modern and up-to-date technology as one of the most important aspects of a workplace.

Technology is moving at a faster pace than ever before. Older computers in the office noticeably take their toll on business. We’ve all been there – excel sheets crashing, the blue screen of death and the excruciating frustration felt at losing any work due to the above.

This loss in productivity is amplified as you grow. Let’s look at a simple example:

You’re a small accountant that charges £100 an hour to clients. Excel takes one minute more when compared to using more up-to-date faster machines at a fellow accountant down the road.

Charge per minute: 100/60 = £1.66
231 estimated working days (31 days’ holiday taken out)
231×1.66 = £381.8

If you have five employees this is £1,909 worth of business hours over the year. And only hurts you more as you grow.

You might say ‘well, employees will stay until they get the job done’, but surely this time could be spent more effectively in your business.

This is an extreme example, but as a business you should think of things like this when you are growing. If you get to 50 employees using out-of-date equipment, it gets more and more difficult to invest in newer equipment for everyone.

2. Aesthetics

First impressions count, especially if you are a B2B company and you regularly have clients coming to your office. On first glance, would you be impressed by your own office? Your office is the equivalent to your shop window so are you proud of it? Ask yourself the question, ‘Does this company really looks after their employees and seem proud of what they have?’

Having an office really fit for purpose (décor, space, light, parking and facilities) all contribute to how your business is perceived by clients and visitors alike.

Also, it makes a difference in terms of your employee satisfaction and your ability to attract and retain staff. A good quality office environment in sectors where staff recruitment and retention is an issue can contribute to a company’s success. If you add in the cost of recruiting and training staff, then it makes sense to invest in a quality working environment that is a factor in good employee satisfaction.

A final point is the effect of a good office space on productivity. It stands to reason that your office environment has an effect on productivity. If you are uncomfortable in your surroundings it can make it more difficult to concentrate on the task in hand.

3. Health

What is more important than your employees’ health? The equipment they use can have an effect on their wellbeing and poor ergonomics (the conditions under which everyday activities are performed in the workplace) can result in potential health risks.

For example, poor-quality seats that don’t provide a good range of adjustment can result in or exacerbate problems with hands, wrists, joints and/or back which can then lead to absence and its associated costs.

Although good-quality seating has an associated cost, investing in more inexpensive items such as  screen support, footrests, palm rests to make sure that the screen is positioned correctly for the employee, so they adopt the best sitting posture, can be effective.

Other office environment factors are not as obvious – for example the quality of the ventilation can mean that the risk of colds and flu spreading can be minimised and lighting can have an effect on eyesight. Paying attention to these details all adds to creating an environment that won’t have an adverse impact on employee health.

4. Security

In 2015 The Department for Business, Innovation & skills documented that the cost of breach of security was on the rise. For SMEs the cost of the most severe breaches of security reached as high as £310,800.

With the rise of ransomware which could encrypt a whole company’s data it’s important to make sure you have adequate backup solutions in place. Prevention is the best form of protection. Investing in properly-configured company firewalls, intrusion detection and anti-virus solutions is a must.

It’s also important to maintain a strong password policy. Password management software not only helps to store passwords securely but also assists in governance to who has access to which passwords and how frequently they need to be changed. This also improves efficiency with removing the need to type in passwords, manually enhancing security further to mitigate the risk of key stroke loggers recording passwords.

Linked to security businesses should have a disaster recovery plan, ideally with some failover solution to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster.

If a call centre was down for an hour how much would it cost them in lost sales and/or reputation?

Also, here are five essential tips for security previously written by Smallbusiness.co.uk

5. Employee morale

Problems with the above factors can all mean employee morale is affected in some way and to some degree. This will have a resultant impact on absenteeism and retention rates.

Also, its often the unseen results that can also be damaging – we all talk about our workplace and those that really make an effort in investing in the physical elements such as the building itself, furniture, and essential modern equipment will get positive recommendations.

Likewise, those that have a poor-quality environment will get a bad reputation that can be difficult to shake off.

Saul Malpass is head of digital at Agency97.

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