We’re looking to upgrade the laptops we buy for our employees this year. What is one thing I should consider when comparing equipment other than price?
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1. Your Employee
When considering buying a new laptop for your employee, ask them what they would prefer. Have them help pick out the computer that they want. This will help them be personally invested and they will be happier with the outcome. If you get something that they are not familiar with it might also impact their time, as they then have to learn a new laptop.
2. SSD vs HDD
SSDs (solid state drives) are superior in a lot of ways to HDDs (hard disc drives) because they’re faster and more durable than traditional hard drives. But since they are flash storage, you can run into problems syncing Dropbox or Google Drive to your desktop. If you have large amounts of data in your cloud storage account, do a selective-sync to your desktop.
3. Feedback From Your Team
Ask the team what they want. You want to make sure you understand what your team wants and don’t compromise on equipment. Your team will be spending a lot of time on their computers, so a minor change in productivity will have a long-term impact.
The most important thing a laptop needs to do is work. I was a Microsoft believer for many years and was used to frozen screens or other issues. Three years ago, I switched to a MacBook. Mac OS is simpler and easier to use, but most importantly, Macs always work. I’ve practically forgotten what frozen windows are and haven’t had any issues with the Macs in our office.
5. A Laptop Stipend Instead
If you give employees a stipend every two years to buy a laptop and two year guarantee, or agree to reimburse for the purchase of a new laptop up to a certain amount, you give them the freedom to choose and customize their own machines. Everyone is finicky about their own tech nowadays. Plus, you save yourself the organizational issue of trying to accommodate everyone’s preferences.
6. The Number and Type of Ports
Standard laptops typically have three USB ports, an Ethernet and an audio jack. However, the current laptop trend is “less is more,” which means manufacturers are ditching ports on their new models. Ports will soon become extinct, so if you need a specific port, make sure you check for them before you buy. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck buying a bunch of adapters for everyone.
When it comes to arming your employees with the tools of their trade, don’t skimp. This doesn’t mean throw away money, but being “penny wise and pound foolish” will tell your employees that you value short term more than long term, and that will not inspire them to take a long view of their time with you.
RAM affects your business more than you might realize. Having a solid amount of memory on a computer can improve startup times, download speeds and general performance. Bonus points if you purchase hardware that is memory upgradeable.