5 glaringly obvious actions you should do with computer equipment when you return from holidays

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During the festive season, families can share joyful times together, for example, relaxing at home, visiting extended family and friends, attending church, going to watch movies and enjoying a Christmas meal together. Yet, in this day and age when businesses open most days during the Christmas – New Year period, some may struggle to balance their time between family and work. So, ideas to help manage technology and ease the transition between work and holidays and back to work again seems worthwhile sharing.

In this article, we look at working smarter with technology in order to get more time to relax with family during the Christmas – New Year break.

Nativity

As Christmas holidays can be a common deadline for various businesses there may be pressure to do extra activities like:

    • placing last minute orders,
    • running payrolls around close dates,
    • finalising this year’s sales,
    • sending emails to confirm next year’s sales,
    • purchasing advertising space, or
    • other activities that could apply under different circumstances.

With so many of these activities relying on information and communication technology (ICT), organisations may want to evaluate what their ICT will be used for during this busy time and create a checklist to reduce risks and provide smooth operations.  Here are some suggestions to consider when making your own list.

Own and name your list

naming your list should help anyone who looks at the list to identify what it is for and if they have the current version.

    • Owner: Business On A Page Gateway P/L
    • Name: Technology checklist – Christmas 2014

List contact details

Have a list of suppliers and IT support available for those who might need it.

Internal support staff

    • IT Support
    • Phone number
    • Contact name
    • Support days and time

External support

    • IT Support: Business On A Page Gateway P/L
    • URL: http://blog.bizonapage.com.au/contact-us
    • Business hours: Mon/Fri 9 – 5 PM AEST/AEDT
    • Support:
      • Provide technology advice and consulting
      • Troubleshoot network, server, PC, tablet and phones
      • Act as authorised nominee with telephone, ISP and technology suppliers

Turn off non-essential equipment

While your business is closed, some equipment may need to stay on and run automatically. For example,

    • an answering machine,
    • email services,
    • intranet services,
    • website, and
    • backup services.

As devices earmarked for continuous operation, some of this equipment may already be connected to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which reduces the risk of problems arising from power faults and disruptions.  If not, you might consider weighing up the value and risks of each service with your budget and determine whether it is worthwhile purchasing one.

Alternatively, other equipment may not need to be on at all until you get back to your desk next year, like your:

    • desktop,
    • monitor,
    • printer, and
    • scanner.

As a result, this equipment could be shutdown down and disconnected. While devices are plugged into a wall socket, electricity can potentially run through the device.  Even when electronic devices are turned off some will use small amounts of power to maintain memory and monitor their environment to automatically turn on. An advantage of disconnecting power and network cables from these device is that it could prevent hardware being damaged from power faults and disruptions. These events may be far and few between, but should your equipment not turn on because of power problems when you return from holidays, the experience will not be pleasant.

Returning to business as usual

Once your holiday is over you might need time to adjust from your relaxed mode to your routine work mode. You might check your diary, have a cup of coffee, catch up with workmates, call a few contacts and review some of the work you did last year. In a similar way, some equipment can require time to turn on and prepare for work.

The glare by Juhan Sonin, on Flickr
The glare by Juhan Sonin, on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Although, modern technology gives the impression it can be turned on and ready to use straight away, the reality is that tablets, computers and other smart devices are complex, made up of several components, run complicated software, have multiple connections and have different configurations. As a result, making time to start your devices, so that they become stable and synchronised before you need them may be beneficial. So, following up the earlier suggestions to turn off ICT equipment, first steps when returning back to work should include:

    1. Plugging the power and network cables of each device back in to their wall sockets.
    2. Allowing batteries time to charge before they are used. Refer to their instruction manuals.
    3. Starting networks, printers and scanners before starting computers as each device impacts the power supply when they turn on, but are less sensitive to these changes as computers are.
    4. Giving computers time to start up. Start times may not only depend on their operating systems, but also what network devices they connect to and software they run.
    5. Giving computer software time to download updates.  Having been disconnected from a network for an extended period of time, programs that routinely download and run their updates overnight might start their updates all at once when the computer reconnects to the network.  Depending on the number of updates and the size of the files the time updates take to download and run may vary considerably.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas.

In review, this blog has put forward the idea of creating a checklist to help deal with technology issues, protect non-critical equipment and start up devices before they are needed. With these suggestions, you will hopefully save time dealing with technology issues before, during and after your holiday vacation and instead gain time to relax with your family and return to business as usual in due course.

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