Slow Computer? Here’s What it Could Be Costing Your Business.

Waiting for a computer to load is probably one of the most frustration–and universal– experiences of the working world. Let’s face it, we’re probably all a little too familiar with the never-ending load wheel, or the never-filling progress bar. But the next time an employee complains about their computer, you may want to listen a little more closely. That lag time isn’t just annoying; it’s actually costing you money. Before you decide to wait yet another year to repair or replace that slow, outdated hardware, take a look at what keeping it could cost your business. 

Slow Computers Cost Time & Productivity

Until now, you may have considered the time spent waiting on your computer to load a mild inconvenience– just a tiny interruption to your day. After all, there are bigger problems in the world, right? Of course there are. But, those seconds to minutes you spend just staring at your screen add up to more than you think. It has been estimated that the average employee spends about 2.75% of their time waiting on their computer to load. That may not sound like much, but it comes out to about 5.5 days per year per employee. Assuming an 8-hour workday, your average employee is wasting– by no fault of their own– 44 working hours– more than an entire work week! 

Slow Computers Mean Missed Opportunities

With your average employee losing an entire work week each year to a slow computer, you’re paying a significant amount of wages each year that won’t bring a return. Without that lag time, your employees’ time could have been spent prospecting, making sales or service calls, or getting ahead on other duties. Many sources say that the opportunity cost associated with a slow computer amounts to around double the actual cost.  

Time is Money

Now, let’s put it all together and translate time into dollar signs. That 2.75-3% of each employee’s time (or five and a half days) means wasted money. Even on your lowest paid employee, you’re likely spending over $1,000 a year for them to sit and wait. And, you’re likely wasting $2-3,000 on your highest paid employees. 

And that’s just lost wages. The revenue-generating activities that each employee lost during that combined 5.5 days should factor into your figure as well. Most sources recommend calculating opportunity cost as double the actual cost. These calculations from ScalePad, based on an employee with an annual salary of $60,000, paint a compelling picture:

Average Salary$60,000
Average Hourly Labor Rate $43/Hour
Time Wasted Due to Slow Computer 2.75%
Annual Cost of Time Waste$1,892 per employee
Annual Opportunity Cost of Time Waste$3,784 per employee
Total Annual Cost of Slow Computer$5,676 per employee

For the average small business, a loss of $5,000 per year is nothing to sneeze at. Even in a small organization with 10 employees, that comes to over $50,000 per year. Yet, there’s still more of your hard-earned money at risk. 

Slow Computers are a Security Risk

Aside from wasting your and your employees’ time, slow, outdated systems leave you vulnerable to dangerous cyber attacks.  A key function of operating system upgrades is to address cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Once your hardware is too outdated to install updates, your data becomes an easy target for hackers. 

Not only is this terrifying and bad for business– a data breach could cost you big.  The lost business, legal fees, and other costs associated with a breach can add up quickly. In 2019, the global average cost of a data breach was $3.92 million! Small businesses were especially hard hit; their size and (often) lack of security measures makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals. If you haven’t taken a hard look at your business’s cybersecurity plan and current infrastructure, now is the perfect time to start. Don’t wait until it’s too late. 

So When Should I Replace My Hardware?

When it comes to replacing your computers and other technology, there is no hard and fast rule. On average, your computer should last around 3-5 years before it needs to be replaced. There are, however, a few signs that it’s time to upgrade. Here are some of the most common:

It takes a long time to load. Chances are, we’ve all spent too much time waiting for the wheel on your screen to stop spinning, or a bar to finally fill up. That lag time isn’t just frustrating– it could be a sign of trouble. If you notice that your computer is taking a longer time to load programs or turn on and off than it once did, it may be time for a replacement.  

Your apps run slowly. Along the same lines, consider the speed of your applications. If you’ve noticed that the apps you use each day run considerably more slowly than they used to, it could be time for new hardware. Try clearing space on your hard drive– if app performance doesn’t improve, then consider replacement. 

It often makes loud or weird noises. Ideally, your computer should run fairly noiselessly. However, there are a few reasons your hardware could be making noise, and not all of them necessitate replacement. You could have a dusty fan or crackling speakers, both of which are easy fixes. Loud noises could also point to problems with your hard drive. While you can replace your hard drive, it may be more cost effective to replace your computer, especially if it is very old.

Repair costs more than replacement. This likely goes without saying. Some technical issues can be fixed by replacing parts on your hardware, but not always. As your system ages and incurs more wear and tear, repair costs will increase. Eventually, those costs will outweigh the cost of replacement, or the prescribed fixes won’t solve the problem permanently.   

You can’t upgrade your operating system. Right now, you probably receive regular messages telling you to update your operating system to the latest version. Once your computer stops supporting the latest updates, you’ll want to look into replacing it soon. Keeping an old operating system not only makes your computer run more slowly, it also exposes you to security threats that the new operating system may address. 

Your computers keep your business running. While the cost of replacing such vital technology can be expensive–not to mention inconvenient– keeping outdated computers will cost you much more. Update your computers, workstations, and operating systems regularly to save time and money and avoid costly security breaches.  

About iSAFE

Most business owners, entrepreneurs and IT managers are anxious and frustrated with computer technology because they don’t know how to make their systems secure while keeping their employees productive. Managing computer technology yourself or in-house leads to lower productivity, greater expense, cyber attacks, and ultimately, data loss. At iSAFE, we manage computer technology for our customers so you can focus on running your business and accomplishing your goals. If you’re ready for someone to completely manage your IT infrastructure, secure your data and networks, and support your staff, then iSAFE Complete Managed Services is for you. Learn more about our services or sign up today.

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