The Importance of Routine Maintenance of Office Equipment
We can’t stress enough the importance of routine maintenance of office equipment, especially when you work from home.
With the upheaval in “business as usual,” there is not much about usual business these days. There are many more workers doing business from home than there ever has been.
Teleworking had been on the rise, slow but sure, before the pandemic. Now it has increased substantially.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics talks about the ability to work from home.
They estimate that 31% of workers employed in early March of 2020 at outside jobs moved to work from home by the first week of April 2020.
That is a massive move in a very short time. One of the impacts of that move is that office equipment routine maintenance now falls on the home office person.
When you worked in a brick-and-mortar building, there was always one person who could unjam the copier.
You knew who to call for repair on any of the office equipment. At that time, all office equipment care fell to everyone in the office, not just you.
The change in location, working from home, and having a home office, has put the task of office equipment maintenance squarely on your shoulders.
So Why is the Routine Maintenance of Office Equipment that Important?
It Increases Productivity
While you are working from home, you may have tasks to perform, but you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder as you did when you were in an office setting.
You probably don’t need anyone looking over your shoulder, but the premise the higher-ups seem to adopt is that people who work from home are not as productive.
Having office equipment that does not function would put you behind in your work, making it seem as if you are less productive.
You know what it is like when the equipment you depend on is down. It can stop you in your tracks and delay the forward motion you had built up.
While a lot of the work you do can be done on a computer, there are still those machines that you depend on to help you do your job.
And office equipment maintenance becomes all-important when you are the one in charge of all of it.
Routine office equipment maintenance will keep your productivity up and help you keep things running smoothly and effectively.
It Extends Home Office Equipment Life
When working from home, you don’t need the hassle and delays that malfunctioning equipment can bring to your work environment.
Doing routine maintenance will extend the life of the equipment and keep you on track.
The Routine Maintenance For Your Computer
Your computer is your most essential piece of office equipment, but you already know that. There are some things that you can do from your home office to maintain your computer.
Back-Up Your Data
Do you remember when you last backed up your computer? If your hard drive were to fail today, how much data would you lose?
If you don’t have a back-up, that is the very first thing you need to do. Right now. Maybe your company has a program for backing up work computers automatically.
And maybe not. There are online services that provide back-up, and there are also devices that will back-up your data.
Use a flash drive to copy files. It is easy and quick. Whatever way you end up using, this is an essential office equipment maintenance to perform.
Clean The Dust
For whatever reason, nothing attracts and collects dust like electronics. It looks unsightly, but that is not the main reason to dust your computer.
A dusty computer will trap heat. That heat will reduce your computer’s performance and shorten its lifespan.
You can wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth, not a wet one, and not one that has chemicals on it. Compressed air will get the dust out from your keyboard and CPU.
Organize the Cables
Most computer setups look like an octopus exploded on or under the desk. Tangles wires and cables reach everywhere.
There are units you can buy that will consolidate all of the cables and cords or use simple twist ties to tame the tangle. Cable wraps provide both organization and a clean look.
Keep You Installation Disks Handy
If you have any difficulty with your computer, you may need to troubleshoot.
If you have software and driver disks all in one easy to find a spot, it makes it easier and faster to reinstall if needed.
This will be especially important if you have to call computer maintenance or repair.
Run Regular Anti-virus Scans
Unless you are self-employed and working from home, your company has installed antivirus software on your work computer.
The antivirus software will monitor for threats in real-time, but it is a good idea to run a full scan yourself every month at the least.
Clean Up Your Software
Every few months, look over the “Add or Remove Programs” found in your computer control panel. If you find software that you don’t use anymore, remote it.
As a part of regular maintenance, remove browser toolbars and any other resource-eating items you find.
Just be very careful when doing this. Some system drivers are located in this area, and removing them would be bad news.
Clean Up Your OS
The operation system, if it is Windows, is not always efficient.
It will save considerable amounts of unnecessary information in temporary files that won’t get deleted. Use a free program like CCleaner, to clear out that data.
Routine Maintenance for The Paper Shredder
A paper shredder is a small but essential piece of office equipment. Even if you are using one for your personal use, it helps to know how to take care of it to last you a long time.
Know What Your Shredder Can Do
One of the reasons that a shredder can break down is because those people using it don’t know what the shredder can and can’t do.
When you have a home office, you will be the one who is the sole operator, so it is good to know just what the shredder can handle.
Depending on how the paper shreds will also dictate how fast the bin fills with shredded paper. If your shredder can handle multiple pieces of paper at a time, it will fill much quicker.
Some shredders are cross-cut shredders that cut the paper every few inches. There are heavy-duty shredders that can handle credit cards or CDs.
You can see where a problem would occur if you tried to shred a CD in a machine not designed to handle that rigid material.
Empty the Shredder Often
Once you know what your shredder can and can’t do, make sure that you empty it regularly. If it works for you to just check the bin from time to time, do that.
If you find that you forget, then schedule and empty the bin at an appointed time.
Run the Shredder In Reverse
On occasion, run the shredder in reverse. This helps to keep the area between the blades from getting jammed up with paper.
Clean The Blades
Before doing this next step, unplug the machine. A shredder would be pretty unforgiving when it comes to your fingers.
Remove any remnant of paper and take a can of compressed air to clean out dust and small pieces that get stuck in the blades.
Lubricate the Blades
Shredder oil is inexpensive and can extend the life of your shredder and keep it working smoothly.
It is also easy to use. Just squirt the oil on a piece of paper and run it through the shredder. You might want to do this once a month, or at the same time that you empty the bin.
Routine Maintenance For the Printer
Use Clean Paper
Using old, dirty, or damaged paper will damage the paper feed in the printer. Avoid paper that has absorbed moisture or is creased or wrinkled.
Don’t Overload the Paper Feed
Overloading the paper feed can jam things up and cause problems. It is not the best to let the paper sit in the feed, either.
The paper can pick up moisture or become bowed in the direction it is laying.
Clean the Printheads
If documents come out of the printer with white lines or graphics missing, even when ink cartridges are full, the printer heads might be clogged and need cleaning.
If you have the manual, it will tell you how to clean them. If the manual is not handy, look online at the manufacturer’s website to find out how to clean them.
So you know the importance of routine maintenance of office equipment. You have an established schedule to keep you on track and items running smoothly.
Don’t Forget The Most Important Piece of Equipment: You.
There is an important piece of equipment to maintain. And that is You.
Before working from home was a “thing,” many people felt that it would be the stuff dreams are made of.
No commute! No “dressing up”! No annoying coworkers! No schlepping lunch and no boss popping in unannounced! Heaven on earth!
The pandemic has not been heaven on earth, but because of it many people started working from home.
It is like so many other aspects of working for a living; there are some good things about it and some not so good things.
For some (me), it can be challenging to remain focused on the task at hand.
Too many other things beckon, like the dishes in the sink, the laundry that needs folding, the bed that looks welcoming, and all manner of things.
There are all kinds of tricks and tips out there to keep you on track. Here are a few:
A technique called The Pomodoro Technique for better productivity bases its success on periodically taking small breaks.
You are to choose a task and work on it for 25 minutes. Then take a five-minute break. This completes one “pomodoro” sprint.
After every four sprints, take a longer break until your workday finishes.
Supposedly this helps you decompress and stay focused. I don’t prefer having to keep track of a “sprint.”
There are times when these mini dashes would be an interruption. But who knows, some might like it.
Keep To A Schedule
Most work done in a brick and mortar office runs on a schedule. You arrive at a particular time and leave at a particular time.
The day has tasks that need attending to, and there is rhythm and flow to the day. Following a routine at home can help the day feel more structured.
Keeping the same rough schedule maintains that flow and can help set a pattern for your day.
Keep A To-Do List
Rather than getting caught up jumping from task to task, construct a list of tasks, and when they need to be done by.
If you have a large task, break it down into smaller components. Check them off when completed to have an idea of if you are on track or not.
This can be a hard one to do. If you live by yourself, you will still find that there are distractions galore.
If you are working from home and your family is there too, it can seem insurmountable. If at all possible, set up a space that is yours alone.
It might not be a room with a door, but others need to understand that you are at work when you are at your desk.
It will require some practice and a different kind of focus to work from home in this manner, but it may be the future wave.
Working from home has its benefits and one of them is that you, for the most part, call the shots.
That also means that you are responsible for all office equipment and keeping it running smoothly.
Performing routine maintenance of your office equipment will mean fewer headaches for you and greater productivity.
Make sure air can circulate your equipment. Good ventilation is essential to keep computers, printers, and other items from overheating and damaging internal parts.
Yes, it does. Don’t daisy-chain pieces of equipment. Use electrical surge protectors and never overstretch cords. The interior wires are small and delicate and can fray or break when stretched.
Unplug those items and clean them before storing them. Place a cover over the equipment to prevent dust from collecting. Store away from heat and moisture.