While no successful business can exist without hard-working and dedicated people, at the end of the day, their efficiency depends on having the right tools, equipment and supplies. High-quality office equipment can increase the productivity of a team, as well as leave a positive impact on clients. Tons of printed material, desks crawling with stationery, but also a chaotic reception area can make a company look archaic and unorganized. These essential pieces of office equipment need to be in place and fully operational.
Every office that has at least one working PC needs a printer to create hard copies of documents. Despite all the hopes and predictions, a 100% paperless office still remains ‘beyond 2000’ and businesses still need all sorts of files printed. Printers today are not used only to stamp invoices, packing slips, flyers and letters, but also generate composite documents containing digital information and scanned images.
While fax machines were once indispensable buzzing pieces of equipment, now we can send electronic copies of any document using a scanner. It is especially useful for handling photographs, print publications, cash register receipts, drawings and hand-filled forms. Even business correspondence that was created in a computer software and received in hard print needs to be scanned and stored in a storage system. Before the invention of the scanner, office workers had to photocopy materials and file them, a practice that was both laborious and space-limiting.
Letter copying presses, copy pads and books, roller copiers, carbon paper, mimeographs and the Ditto machine are all relics from the past. The advancements in xerography or dry writing led to the development of copiers we have today. The choice of colour copier or black and white ‘xerox machine’ depends on the office manager or business owner and is justified if colour prints are needed on a daily basis. For most businesses it is more feasible to send colour copies to an offsite print shop, although colour technology is becoming more affordable, especially in combined copier/printer/scanner units.
If you have space, having a presentation room in your place of business will allow you to not only to present your products and/or services to your clients but also to keep your employees updated about recent developments in your company. What’s more, if equipped with the right devices, as a large wall-mounted TV and a high-powered surround sound system, as well as proper cinema seating, this space can also be used as a movie theatre, giving your employees a chance to unwind watching some cool, entertaining flicks in their leisure time.
Although often underutilized and underestimated in many offices, laminating machines can be very useful. Important document originals can be preserved by heat sealing two thin layers of clear plastic over each side. The laminating sheet is twice the size of a standard A4 document, but it is folded in half before sealing. The plastic on the margins melts to allow for a permanent seal. Laminators can be used for creating signage, produce ID cards, preserve photos, create long-lasting business cards and reinforce pages in a flip chart or spiral bound booklet. One thing is certain – when an office obtains a laminator, the staff will surely come up with many more creative uses for this piece of equipment.
In a business world ridden with identity theft and all kinds of fraud, protecting the sensitive information is as important as obtaining it. Ironically, sometimes the best way to protect a document is to destroy it. By cutting sheets of paper into thin strips, a shredder is absolutely necessary for any business where confidentiality is legally required, like law, medicine and education. Higher-end shredders will cut through stapled papers, as well as shred credit cards and other plastic cards with identification information on them.
A modern office can find uses for more than just these six pieces of equipment, but these are essential for every business setup. While not every item on this list is likely to be used daily, not having one at hand when needed is more than frustrating.