How we define “the office” has changed quite a bit since the 1990s. In the past, an office was simply a space where people gathered to complete their work tasks. Today, with the advent of the internet, the cloud, and teleconferencing, the modern office has evolved into something far more advanced and dynamic. It’s also become something a bit more abstract. Offices can be purely physical, entirely virtual, or some combination of the two. The scope of an individual’s work no longer appears limited to the office itself either. From our modern offices, we are more connected with the entire value chain.
That said, most offices still have to include the basics. Let’s start with those.
Print Technology, Paper, & POS Supplies
Yes, we’re moving into a more digital age, but most offices still require basic printing technology. It’s simply a question of scale, and what type of technology is required for the industry you’re in. It usually comes down to inkjet printers vs. laser printers.
- Inkjet Printers: An inkjet printer uses digital print heads to connect ink to paper. These printers are usually low in up-front cost and operating cost, however, the maintenance cost of ink is something to consider. The ink cartridges include microchips that signal to the printer when it is out of ink. The printer is then blocked from printing until the cartridge is replaced. Inkjet printers are better suited for small offices that don’t require too much printing.
- Laser Printers: A laser printer utilizes an electrostatic laser to put images on paper. This is done through a combination of heat and powder toner. It has certain advantages over laser printers, namely that it’s faster, costs less per page, and the end product is not moisture-sensitive.
There is paper that can be used for each type of printer – inkjet printer paper and laser printer paper. Types include:
- Matte – This is a commonly used type of printer paper that’s well-suited for basic printing needs. It is especially good for inkjet printers as the white coating helps ink dry quicker. If you need a document printed off quickly and ready to go, matte paper is your best option.
- Bright White – This is smooth, non-textured paper, making it a great option for double-sided printing. It guarantees that ink won’t show from one side to the other.
- Glossy – This type of paper is usually used for printing images because it allows for sharp images and excellent color contrast. The glossy surface of the paper absorbs ink, giving the image more clarity.
- Card Stock – Use this if you are printing business cards, postcards, or scrapbooking. The reason being that card stock printer paper is far thicker than other types of paper, making it more durable.
- Resume – Resume paper is slightly heavier than other kinds of paper. It also has an off-white appearance and has a cream or ivory tone. It’s often used for resumes or CVs because it indicates the information is highly important.
Many offices require POS (Point Of Sale) Supplies, not only for your customers but for the business to keep track of inventory and to put together monthly sales reports. For this you’ll need receipt paper. The three most basic forms of receipt paper include:
- One-Ply Paper Rolls
- Multi-Ply Paper Rolls
- Thermal Paper Rolls
Advanced Technology For The Modern Office
Personalized Lighting Systems
Productivity can be negatively affected by poor lighting, which can result in eye strain, headaches, and even depression. We all know the difference between the light that comes from a well-made desk light and the dull white fluorescent light that comes from many office ceilings. We also need to keep in mind that older people require more light than younger people just to see the same detail. Today we have a number of personalized lighting systems that can adjust automatically based on a number of factors. These systems can remember your lighting preferences and adjust the lighting for you. Or, you can manually adjust the lighting from an application on your smartphone.
Smart Office Designs
Today we have the technology to influence the office environment, including lighting and heating, air circulation, facility forecasting, and security and desk sensors. These can be controlled right from a mobile phone. Not only can this reduce energy saving costs, it can also help maximize employee efficiency.
Software & Apps To Increase Productivity
Today it’s more convenient than ever to collaborate with our co-workers and streamline the completion of various tasks. Much of today’s technology in this regard is incredibly convenient and intuitive. Group collaboration via this technology can increase office space productivity by a huge margin. Consider the following tools for your office:
- The Cloud – There are entire packages available on the Cloud that will help your company become more efficient. There are also individual mobile apps you can choose based on your specific role in the company.
- Collaboration Suites – A productive office requires effective communication. In the modern office environment, employees need to have a comprehensive communication software system that can offer fast messaging, file-sharing, and project management. No matter where they are located, staff members should be able to share notes, ideas, updates, and analytics.
- Management Software – There are plenty of smart software products that can make project organization and job tracking much more simple and convenient. Some of the software you can use in this regard includes: Project Management, Time and Attendance, Virtual Receptionist, Customer Relationship Management, Cloud Print and Fax Administration, and Accounting and Asset Inventory.
A good information technology support team can utilize your Wi-Fi network’s hard and software to save you money and time through VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), security software, and more affordable outsourced Cloud computing and printing for employees working in remote locations. Many employees working cities, states, or even countries away can all network with one another and work as a team to complete their tasks.
The foundation for this will probably consist of:
- System monitoring
- Routers and switches
- Copy machines
- Fax machines
- USB flash drives (for backing up and transporting data)
- PCs like All-in-One
- Communication systems like SIP, VOIP, and cloud-hosted systems
Remote Workforce Technology
Today many businesses have a workforce that is scattered across many different locations. However, with modern remote workforce technology that can be utilized on a computer, laptop, or smartphone, employees living far away can be right there at the table during your next meeting. RWT is important for keeping employee skills current, getting everyone up-to-date on the latest developments in the company, and keeping maintaining a sense of a unified workforce.