As a business owner, you’ve probably had a lot of experience with withholding, managing, and balancing your money. Did you know though, that there are a number of business expenses you could deduct on your annual tax return? Guess what, your computer is one of them! Take a good look at the computer you use at work. Now look at the one you use at home. See the difference? There is most certainly a difference, and probably a big one, even if it is not obvious. There is a reason for those differences, some good, some bad. If you are like a lot of people, you probably hate the computer you use at work. But there is a lot more going on inside that box than what meets the eye. Here are some of the factors that differentiate a good work computer:
The right computer for the job
One of the most important distinctions between a business computer and a personal computer is that business computers tend to be purpose driven. Personal computers have to be ready to accomplish any task a consumer might choose to throw at it.
A business computer is focused on a specific set of tasks. A good industrial computer might be set up as a touch terminal in a military vehicle. Its job necessitates ruggedness. It would likely be smaller than something you would have at home, and easily mountable.
The computers in office cubicles are also purpose driven. They are never going to be asked to do more that run the Microsoft Office suite of apps, a web browser, and not much else. These can be done with minimal specs. The graphics department will be set up differently, likely with high-end Macs. Again, they are purpose driven. A good business computer should do what it is needed to do, and nothing more. A business computer knows its job, much like the person using it.
Computers with a reduced environmental footprint
Businesses cannot afford to waste money. Unfortunately, computers uses a lot of energy, and energy is money. Much of the energy computers expend is wasted. When consumers waste energy with their computing habits, it is one computer. Multiply that by 5,000 seats, and the level of energy and money waste becomes a significant problem.
As recently as June of this year, Network World noted that 1 in 5 small businesses still used Windows XP. That is a 13 year old operating system. 13 years ago, CRT monitors ruled the business environment. A good many of them are still being used. No part of the machines of that era were particularly environmentally friendly.
Today, we are more enlightened about computers and the environment. And we have many more energy efficient choices. Today’s business computer should reflect that enlightenment, and take advantage of the energy saving options that are available.
Energy Star compliance is just the beginning. There is also hazardous materials to consider. Recyclability is also another important factor. Computershopper.com offers even more advice on going green.
Computers that are easily serviceable
There is a good reason why enterprise does not generally purchase Macs for the typical cubical. And price is not really the biggest reason. Don’t get me wrong. Companies care very much about price. The cheaper, the better. This does not usually result in a great user experience. But a great user experience is not their priority, either.
Even more than price, IT departments care about how easy the computer is to service when something goes wrong. One of the big reasons the tower computer refuses to die is because it is the easiest form factor to service. The case can be easily opened. Faulty components are easy to remove. New components are easy to install.
It is not about being lazy. It is about speed and downtime. On a typical office PC, a broken optical drive can be swapped out in 2 minutes. In 2 minutes, you are still taking the screws out of a Mac’s chassis, if you can even find them.
In an office of one, any computer will do. In a more corporate setting, you do not want to make the mistake of thinking that home computers and work computers are created equally. Their not.