Virtually every organization relies on computers or computerized equipment for some function, and many organizations rely on employees to use computers every day. Despite the price tags these machines carry, they offer a return on the organization’s investment in the form of efficiency gains, more professional presentations and even enhanced communication.
In the days before computers became ubiquitous in American organizations, employees in roles with complex functions like accounting and analysis often had to perform advanced calculations with little more than a pencil, paper and a calculator. Employees tasked with creating documents also had to write out their productions by hand. Computers introduced an electronic element that allows employees to create digital files without the need for writing on paper, and electronic spreadsheets allowed employees to perform complex mathematical calculations by simply typing them into the machine. When a 4-H extension organization in St. Paul, Minn.,. introduced computers in 1986, according to the Journal of Extension, agents quickly realized efficiency gains in producing training materials and even generating press releases.
Just as computers allow employees to create documents more efficiently, the machines also help employees give those documents a refined and professional appearance. Rather than submitting a handwritten or typed manuscript to a local newspaper or publication, for example, employees can generate the document in a software application, electronically check for spelling and grammar errors, and submit the document directly to an editor. Sales professionals can use computers to generate graphs and charts demonstrating the advantages of their products and services, and presenters can use computers to develop and deliver professional, animated and even interactive slide shows.
In a list of office advantages that computers offer, the computing website Spam Laws repeatedly acknowledges the ability of computers and networks to facilitate information sharing. Employees in one location can create electronic documents, and employees in another location — even another country — can retrieve the document only moments later. Because electronic files take up only a very tiny amount of physical space, employees can also take files with them when traveling or electronically access them from a remote location.
Computers enable electronic communication, and this form of instant access arguably represents one of the most significant advantages that computers can offer an organization. Using electronic communication like email, instant messaging and webcasts, organizational leaders can communicate with a very large number of employees in real time regardless of physical location. Computers also help facilitate electronic communication with other major stakeholders like investors and suppliers, and customers can use electronic communication to quickly get service or even place an order. Computers can even help organizations cut back on communication costs by facilitating video conferences that reduce physical travel, or establishing voice connections that eliminate the need for traditional telephones.