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Working with antiquated resources

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Quill and paperImage: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The building within which I work is owned by the company I work for. It is the only office space they own – the rest are leased (for our other locations). The building originally used to be owned by one of our clients with a temporary extension (think huge portakabin) that’s been in situe for at least twice it’s intended lifespan. Our workplace is falling apart – it’s depressing to be within and the equipment on our desks is archaic. I work for an IT outsourcing provider – with IT as our business, you’d think that we’d be embracing new(ish) technologies and hardware in order to promote efficiency, experience and understanding. Things couldn’t be further from the truth.

My work laptop is six years old. It was supplied to me with insufficient memory – I had to put my hand in my own pocket in order to be able to fund the purchase of a RAM upgrade (since work refused). The device is out of support, but in the past few months has had a replacement motherboard and hard drive; it’s been rebuilt twice in the same period of time (four times in the last year). Whilst I get by with it, I know I’m far from productive as a result of my hardware’s limitations.

We have a standard operating system environment – it means we all have the same desktop installation, applications and so forth. The issues with this is it leads to a bloaty base install. The toolset used to manage it is both old and intrusive. I regularly can’t use the device for the first 90 minutes of a working day and am prone to crashes / outages. Even with these time losses clearly highlighted to our management team, their blinkered approach (just mentioning no budget) we are still expected to struggle on.

This mentality just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t want or need for brand new hardware every year, but the equipment I am provided with should have been recycled a number of years ago. It doesn’t take much to multiply the lost time each day over a number of working days, weeks, months and even years. Add into that factor the time I am unproductive for and I am more than sure the cost of a replacement laptop could be mitigated in a very short period of time.

My team are all in the same boat – we are aware of the issues one another experience each and every day. Other teams in our work space also suffer the same issues whereas there are portions of our company that appear to be able to lay their hands of new equipment at the drop of a hat. In order to see if this issue was commonplace outside of my working environment I decided to open the question up to my Twitter followers. I asked them how old their main work PC/Laptop was, here’s a sample of the results:

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I was quite surprised by the above.  I had expected the average age to be 2-3 years and not 5.3 years old!  This means that my laptop is in fact, on average, only slightly older than the mean device.  This makes me beg the question, is our own economy being stifled by an inefficient work force and is it therefore any wonder that so many roles are not only being off shored due to cheaper labour, but also because those off shore resources are probably using newer and more efficient hardware.

What do you think?

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