Headspace by Greg Bray

Thoughts and observations of an often displaced Aussie, working to rid the professional world of paper - one page at a time - visit me at OzDox.com.au

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Why Do You Tolerate Your Slow PC?

Implementing software systems for other companies frequently necessitates me spending time sitting at other people's desks and trying to debug an application, or develop a work process.

I have come to dread this part of my job - not for the challenges it presents, but because of the slow workstations I seem to get stuck at. I am keeping a rough tally in my head these days, and I am estimating that 25 percent of the computers I get to sit in front of are either invested with crap-ware or just plain underpowered and overwhelmed with modern applications.

Although I keep myself calmly composed, I am usually seething inside - because of instead of actually working on a problem -I am instead relegated to watching a windows OS slowly load, or waiting 30 sends between each letter typed or mouse click.

It bugs the hell out of me....how can somebody accept this on a daily basis? How much productivity is lost, or money expended try to chase down a solution? Do these users think that they deserve to have sub-standard tools?

A computer is the primary tool for any professional....it should be powered accordingly. 4GB RAM...2.4GHtz Processor - end of story. The productivity gains from a fast computer are mindblowing - not to mention the release of stress from banging your head against the keyboard.

A decent computer will cost about A$1500 (Dell Optiplex 360 ) without software and installation. If you figure that reboots, hangs and slow response lose an employee just 2 hours a week (lol...that is WAY under the productivity loss your would get - espeically if you consider that crap computers generally prohibit any multi tasking), you will have lost the value in of a new workstation in just over 6 months (based on a staff salary of $50k).

Then consider, for the next 3 years after that (the ideal retirement age of a computer is 36 months), you will be extracting an extra $9,000 worth of productivty from your user.

Of course, I also frequently see the situation where a user acknowledges that their PC should be a boat anchor, but they do nothing about it because they either don't want to cause a stir or believe that nothing will be fixed anyway. What better time than to show your appreciation to an employee than to present them with a new PC. Perhaps use new PC's as a incentive program, or even (god forbid) use them for Christmas Bonuses!

Until this happens, I will continue to spend 25% of the time at other peoples desks admiring their vacation photos and guessing what types of food products are wedged in their keyboards....instead of actually being productive.

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