Slowdown Means It’s Time To Boost Productivity

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Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

I attended an industry summit last month in Orlando, Florida, sponsored by the company that develops the software we use to run our business. Over 750 of the computer industry’s top service providers all converged in Downtown Disney for two days of training, sharing of best practices and panel discussions on the future of the computer service business.

Not surprisingly, a frequent topic of discussion among the attendees was the economy. While I know companies and people are struggling, I think in large part the media builds up the hype and frenzy to the point of near mass hysteria. “Bad news sells papers,” as they say.

Being involved in these discussions at the summit did drive home the point that we need to be the trusted business advisor for our clients. This means we need to do more than fix your computers – we need to help you maximize your technology investment, reduce costs and lower overhead. You don’t want computers – you want what the computers can do for you.

This has never been more important than right now, as we’re watching the economy rise and fall like a roller coaster.

This idea won’t be popular with your employees, but one of the areas where we can help you make an immediate impact on your bottom line is to boost productivity. The Internet has become a way of life for nearly everyone – and almost every staff person has Internet access right at their desktops.

If you have a medium sized company with 10 regular, work at their desk type employees. Let’s assume, too, that each person makes $20 per hour after taxes and benefits. If each employee wastes just five minutes per day on the Internet, your annual waste is over $4,300. If they spend 15 personal minutes per day on the Internet, the annual cost is more than $13,000. An hour per day? The cost skyrockets to more than $50,000 per year.

There are plenty of options available to limit and monitor Internet usage at your company, and I’d encourage you to implement something immediately. There are some options that won’t cost you anything more than an hour of one of our consultant’s time.

If you know that employees are spending time on Myspace, for example, we can block access to that website. Or, you can make Myspace a hot monitoring term, and start recording a screen shot every second while an employee is on that site.

We also have the ability to block any external sites at the firewall level, so there’s no need to monitor employee’s computers. With a firewall, we can deny and allow sites based on their category (research sites are allowed, while lingerie sites aren’t). Call me at the office (734-457-5000) and I’ll be happy to discuss options with you.

If you’re concerned about violating employee privacy, here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on: The good employees don’t care. And secretly, they’re going to be happy you’re cracking down on the slackers.