What does a slow PC cost you?

We did some maths! The results were quite scary…

From the start here let’s be very clear; with today’s technology 99% of users should not need to wait for a computer.

You shouldn’t have to wait an inordinate amount of time after booting up just for it to “settle down”. You should never be using the phrase “Oh, it always does that, don’t worry”. Similarly, you should not be stuck waiting for documents to load.

What many people overlook is that the computer is a tool, there to assist you in your day to day work. If you ever say something along the lines of, “I don’t use that because it’s just quicker if I…”, then your computer, your tool, is not up to the task at hand. Yet, what always strikes me as so bizarre is that computer speeds seems to be the most commonplace staff complaint.

So what does that mean in real commercial terms? What is the cost of a slow PC? Is it worth just sticking with it because “it’s always worked that way”? Unsurprisingly the answer is no. Per year, one slow computer would cost you well over £1500.00 per year and to prove it here’s the maths. Also note before we go on that this isn’t a “worst case scenario” or an extreme example. This is just an average office example talking about 5 minutes of waiting per hour.

If we say that a computer hangs, pauses or delays a user by 5 minutes every hour, and if that user usually works a 9-hour day, then per day that user cannot work for 45 minutes. The current UK minimum wage is £7.20 per hour, but don’t forget as an employer you’re also paying NIC. Add it all together over the year and a full time staff member would cost you a minimum of £18060.74 which equates to roughly £7.72 per hour. Now, if they’re losing 45 minutes per day waiting on a computer, that’s 225 minutes per week, a staggering 11700 minutes per year, or 195 lost hours. 195 hours at a minimum cost of £7.72, and those 5 minutes of waiting actually cost you £1505.40 per year! Don’t forget either, this is a minimum wage example, not a living wage or higher salary user. Also, and this is important, THAT’S ONLY 5 MINUTES PER HOUR. How long do you think your users are waiting on technology? Furthermore, this is only for one user! 5 users in the company and you’re up to £9032.40 cost per year.

The solution isn’t as straight forward either, you have to really fight the knee-jerk reaction to just get new computers. You need to find the root cause of the slow performance; are there network issues, software conflicts, user errors? These all happen and slow things down, spending out on new hardware will have an initial improvement but 4-6 weeks later you may find yourself grinding to a halt again.

We’ve recently started offering site audits to ascertain what’s slowing down your users and what can be done, in the most cost effective manner, to speed them up. In truth, its regularly better to do a quick PC tune-up (£75.00) and a ram upgrade (circa £25.00) than buying new hardware.

It’s all about process! If you can reduce the time your staff are sat waiting, you’re lining your own pockets come year end. Not including the additional work, they could deliver in those 234 hours per year or the improvements on staff morale an improved system could have! Food for thought certainly.