In the 21st century, the modern office uses a large and varied amount of equipment to perform everyday tasks efficiently and effectively. Office equipment runs the gamut from supplies used on a daily basis which need to be replaced frequently to substantial and expensive pieces of equipment which tend to last an office for years, provided they are looked after correctly.
Stationary is a traditional part of the office environment, and continues to be essential in the 21st century. Stationary includes items such as pens, rulers, staplers, paperclips and other equipment used to make notes and perform basic tasks connected to activities such as idea brainstorming and recordkeeping, for example. Notepads are commonly used to record minutes in meetings, while post-it notes are used to communicate short messages effectively within the office.
Computers are used for a large amount of office-based tasks. Word processor programs are utilized to type up notes and minutes and to produce reports and communications, while spreadsheet programs will be used in account keeping. Computers allow access to the Internet, which provides both internal and external communication tools in the form of e-mail, as well as immense research capabilities. The type of computer used by an office will vary based on what work is required. A more up-to-date computer will be needed for desktop publishing and graphics production packages, for example, while office workers may use laptops, especially if they regularly work while on the move.
Several commonly found pieces of office equipment are designed for use alongside computer systems, and are typically connected to them. These include printers, which enable office workers to produce hard copies of documents such as reports and accounts, and scanners. Scanners allow professionals to reproduce documents and graphics onto computers in digital form, for example for use on a company website, and are available in a range of resolutions which offer varying levels of detail. More expensive scanners, those with resolutions of 3200 DPI (dots per inch) and more, are suitable for graphic designers and professionals in similar fields.
Other useful machines generally found in offices include the photocopier, which allows workers to make multiple copies of a document for reference and for sharing with colleagues, and shredders. The shredder is increasingly important with the prevalence of identity fraud. Shredders are used to destroy documents containing potentially important information about an individual’s or company’s accounts, preventing would-be fraudsters from using this information.
Professionals need to communicate with individuals both within their company and outside, so most offices will utilize a telephone system. This system will connect all of the workers in the office together and will have built-in features, which enable an individual to divert a call to a colleague, for example. Other functions of phone systems include conferencing, which allows multiple workers to join in the same conversation, and message recording capabilities. Professionals might also use advanced cell phones, such as BlackBerry devices, while away from their desk.