The great technology debate rages in offices across our nation, and probably across the globe. Does technology make our work more productive and efficient, or does it create more headaches on a daily basis? (Cue the printer that’s jammed or the laptop that won’t load.) The answer to this highly debatable question potentially depends upon the events of your workplace on any given day. For instance, if your small business software (which is used to organize client data) suddenly quits working and you have no means to access data, you are in trouble. But if that same software lands you a new client the next week, you will be singing its praises. You can see the problem here. As IT Support Specialists, we know that the day-to-day IT challenges your business faces can hinder employee productivity from simple things like blocked printers to more complex projects that require IT assistance. In order to help your workplace stay on target for your daily goals without having to call in IT support reinforcements, here are our Top 10 IT Issues and potential solutions to keep your business productive and efficient.
#1 - Aging Technology
How old is the technology in your office? Can’t remember when you last invested in new technology from your scanners to your devices and all the components that go into your server room? The rapid evolution of technology may make you feel like your tech is old right after you purchase it. However, there are some key signs that your hardware is getting past its productive lifespan and you should consider replacing it. You know your hardware and/or technology is past its prime when vendors no longer service your workplace tech or encourage you to upgrade due to prohibitive maintenance costs. Additionally, outdated hardware may be difficult to update with new software or patches to comply with changing industry standards, HIPAA laws, and regulations/compliance.Beyond the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of older hardware, businesses should consider that older tech works slower, may be more challenging to access data, and on the whole, sends a message to your clients that you are not keeping up with the evolution of technology in your field. This is not a good message to send, especially when clients expect more from technology to help their business.
#2 - Lack of Cable Management
When was the last time you looked behind your monitor or desk? How many cables are back there anyway? The power cables, USB cables, ethernet, printer, copier, mouse, keyboard, and the list could go on and on. Chances are more than you realize unless you have a fantastically organized IT team who manages cables for you. The important thing to note about cable management is that it's not just an aesthetic issue. It becomes an issue when your computer, laptop, or another device accidentally becomes unplugged. Precious minutes are spent finding the correct (dusty) cable that is needed to connect to your monitor, computer, or another item. Those loose cords can become a huge nightmare when it comes to productivity and maintaining momentum throughout your workday. A potential solution is to organize your cables, label them or take some time to learn which one goes where in advance. It may seem like a little thing but it can make a world of difference.
#3 - Slow or Freezing Devices
Nothing makes the productivity dip in the workplace more than weak connections that slow or freeze your computers. Teach your employees how to troubleshoot some of these common problems by closing programs and tabs they are not using currently. Sometimes that can do the trick. Have your IT Support Specialist do a scan for viruses and malware that can potentially slow or freeze your computer. While you are taking the time to do that, you might as well install updates and patches that you have been putting off that can also help improve the security and functionality of the devices.
#4 - Slow Internet or Dropped Access to the Internet
When you’re working at home you probably won't have access to the IT experts as you would in the office, but you can still check your router and wireless to see if they are operating as expected or if that is the issue. If you’re in the office, your IT department can conduct a check. In the meanwhile, move closer to the router, invest in a WiFi extender, or examine whether the router could be overloaded.
#5 Printer Issues
Many offices have gone paperless, but if yours has not, you probably use the printer more than you want to admit. When that printer goes down or your device doesn’t seem to be connecting properly, the world can seem like it has come to a standstill. Some troubleshooting that you and your officemates can do would include:
Check to see if the printer is on.
Check to see if the printer has enough toner, ink, etc.
Check to see if the paper is in the tray and if the tray is inserted correctly.
Confirm that connections are in (cords come loose?)
Talk to IT about wireless connections and any connectivity issues that may be going on in your workplace.
#6 - Login Issues
Mondays can be rough. Have you forgotten your login or perhaps did you change it last week? If so, talk to your IT specialists about recovering your log-in information. Before you panic that your login is no longer working check things like
Is the caps lock on? If that is on your login will not work.
Have you misspelled something?
Has your password expired or been changed for security purposes?
Have there been too many failed login attempts?
Getting locked out of your system can be extremely frustrating, but it is usually just a matter of having your credentials reinstated. Contact your IT department to get back into your data in a timely manner.
#7 - Missing Files or Data
As you go about your day, you probably access lots of data and files concerning your clients, consumers, marketing, or other aspects of your business. Every once in a while it happens that data seemingly goes missing. Chances are it is still there but may need to be recovered by your IT team. Before you get alarmed, check the “trash bin” or “recycle” section of your device. Remember that most data is backed up and can be recovered even if you have deleted it. Talk to your IT department before going to Defcon 4.
#8 Odd Computer Noises
Computers are usually relatively quiet devices. Unfortunately, if yours starts sounding like the fan is about to take flight or making a clunking noise, shut it off immediately. While most likely the fan and filter may just need to be cleaned out, if you have recently dropped it or spilled your morning coffee on the device, you may have a larger problem. Again, contact your IT support to examine your device.
Overuse, lack of ventilation, and sitting in direct sunlight are the three most common reasons a laptop or device could overheat. Simple troubleshooting includes making sure you don’t leave your device in a hot car or in direct sunlight. Furthermore, clean your fans and vents regularly to keep those working properly. Finally, give your device breathing room. Meaning, use a lap desk or other tool to keep it from overheating while you sit with it on the couch. Make sure airflow is available to keep the device cool at home and at the office.
#10 Lack of Training for Employees
Employees are the face of your company as well as the first line of defense when it comes to care and the level of vulnerability of your devices. Be sure you offer ongoing training so your employees can troubleshoot common IT issues as well as spot viruses and malicious emails, attachments, and other cyber threats.
A Final Word
As you can see, many IT issues have some fairly straightforward solutions that can be completed or troubleshot by employees conducting their daily tasks. Sometimes you do need to call in extra help especially when the security of your system is at risk or your hardware/software seems to be not operating properly. Hopefully, this list has given you an opportunity to take charge of some of your IT issues and become a problem solver for your workplace.