As we continue to face the coronavirus pandemic, everyone’s safety remains a top priority. Therefore, washing our hands regularly, keeping a safe distance from one another and wearing masks is extremely important since the primary way COVID-19 spreads is through respiratory droplets in the air. However, the jury is still out in terms of if droplets land on objects or surfaces, how long (if at all) are those areas cause for concern of catching the virus. Therefore, as a safety precaution, it’s generally a good idea to keep your workspace and technology clean and disinfected—and to clean it daily. Here are the methods and products we recommend using so that your workspace is safe, but also so that you don’t damage your tech in the disinfecting process. Continue Reading
As the pandemic continues in this country, so does working from home for many Americans. In fact, one study shows that roughly 42% still work from home. For business owners, it presents multiple problems and required adjustments, but what many don’t think about is what does that mean for your office technology, just sitting there collecting dust? For computers, it mostly means turning them on from to time and uploading any necessary updates, but what about printers? If you don’t keep up with them, multiple issues can arise and your whole business could suffer. To keep your printer working smoothly during these unprecedented times, we’ve got some easy maintenance tips so that when regular office hours resume, your printer is functioning properly and ready for work!
Weekly: Update and Run it
First off, since you or someone is most likely going into the office to at least collect mail, make it a regular item on your to-do list to check the office printer once a week. You’ll want to turn it on (or wake it up from sleep mode depending on your preference), give it time to warm up and then print something. This will help to keep the ink from drying out and keeping the nozzles free from clogs. Just remember to also check your network connections when you do this—connectivity problems from lack of regular activity could cause a printing delay.
At the same time, you’ll also want to check to see if the printer driver requires any software updates. If it does, make sure to then notify the staff that they will most likely need to update their printer software on their computers when they return to coincide with that update.
Monthly: Clean It
Cleaning your printer is also a great thing you can do to help your printer live a long and happy life. And we’re not just talking about the dust and debris that can collect on the outside (though that is important to remove, either with a small vacuum or a lint-free dust cloth—no cleaning sprays!). It’s important to clean inside of it. When dust collects on the inside, it can cause paper jams and the ink to streak. Your printer manual can provide specific guidance, but you’ll want to specifically clean the printer heads regularly. Most office printers include a self-cleaning feature for this, so you’ll just want to run it. But if not, following the manual, you’ll want to remove the printer heads and clean them with warm water (let them dry before returning them).
Monthly: Check the Cartridges
When it comes to ink cartridges, besides keeping them clean, it’s also important to keep them moving. If you print something once a week, as we previously suggested, that will help. But it’s also a good idea to take them out every month and give them a good shake (and clean the printer heads after you shake). This will help the toner from drying out and keep the pigment from settling. When the cartridge is dry, it can damage your printer head (resulting in costly repairs or having to purchase a new one all together).
In addition, you’ll also want to check for any low ink warnings (it’s a good idea to replace them relatively soon if they do appear), as well as check their expiration dates. Many office printers will not operate if the cartridge is past its due date. (And please, we know ink cartridges can run pricey, but it’s better to buy good quality ink, than the cheap stuff which can damage the heads and produce poor prints.)
Other Good Practices
Some other helpful suggestions include:
- Room Temperature: It’s tempting to want to save money while the office is empty and turn off the air/heat, but it’s a bad idea for your technology. It’s important to keep it away from heat, as well as moisture, at a comfortable temperature. Air generally gets in the nozzles and if it’s hot, the ink could dry up in a matter of weeks.
- Cover It If Possible: Some office printers are too large for this, but if you have a smaller one, try to cover your printer if you can. It will help keep the dust out.
Having Printer Problems?
If you find you are having regular issues with your printer—such as frequent paper jams and slow processing—remember, your manual is your friend. It could also be something simple, like you purchased the wrong ink cartridge or your paper tray is overfilled. But if you find that doesn’t help and your printer is malfunctioning, before you run out and a buy new technology, give us a call.
According to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only around 7% of U.S. employees had access to remote work benefits as of 2019. Then the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world—and the nation. Suddenly, many companies were scrambling to support remote work forces as a way to remain economically viable during shutdowns.
According to Statista, as of April 2020, around 28% of adults who were working before COVID were now able to work from home and were doing so. That’s a 400% increase in work-at-home rates over 2019 figures, so it’s no surprise that many companies struggled with the technological aspects of these changes. From ensuring security to providing help desk support, it’s a different world when your employees are scattered in disparate locations.
Common Technical Issues Faced in Remote Work Environment
You’re likely well aware that technical challenges can come up in any work environment, and tech resources can be busy even when everyone’s under the same roof. But remote work environments bring additional challenges, including:
- Security weaknesses, as employees use VPN and outside networks
- Backup failures, especially if employees save to laptop hard drives instead of cloud resources
- Hardware issues, which can be more difficult to manage when the hardware is in employee homes
The Role of IT Support Services
With remote work now a part of the day-to-day for so many businesses—and the potential for this to continue into the future—tech service support desks are critical for companies of all sizes. Employees need someone to contact via chat or phone who can offer immediate help, especially since workarounds such as sitting at another workstation when hardware is down isn’t an option in a remote environment.
You can’t afford not to have help desk support. Without dedicated IT support, employees may spend much of their work time trying to troubleshoot tech issues. Your teams might also spend more time finding work arounds for common issues such as conferencing software and hardware woes, data and document storage and printing. And chances are that people who are focused on the business will make decisions that are heavy on productivity and efficiency and weaker on security.
The great news is that you don’t need a fully staffed in-house support desk to keep ahead of common remote-work tech issues. Managed IT services let you outsource help desk and tech support tasks to experienced professionals so your staff can concentrate on business-facing work such as customer service, training and production.
At Great Lakes Computer, we offer managed IT services throughout Northeast Ohio. Contact us to find out how we can take the burden off your staff and provide greater peace of mind when you’re dealing with a remote workforce.