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Info Advantage has been serving the Upstate New York area since 1993 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Job Automation: Robots Aren't Taking Over Quite Yet

Job Automation: Robots Aren't Taking Over Quite Yet


Companies are always looking to improve their operations by eliminating unnecessary costs. It’s a part of business, no matter how you look at it. However, as automation technologies grow more advanced, some of the more mundane (and even some professional) positions are at risk of getting replaced by cheaper, more efficient robotic systems.

We see this all the time in certain industries like manufacturing and retail, where there’s no longer a need for specific positions due to autonomous systems taking their place. While this trend is capable of increasing these organizations’ bottom lines, it simultaneously puts people out of work. Surprisingly, the quality of work by automated systems could be largely variable and unpredictable. So, until the details get sorted out, it’s likely that automated systems will have to be babysat, with humans jumping in to save the day should something go wrong.

This presents another possibility; rather than replacing workers, automated technology could be used to augment their capabilities. For example, there are writing programs that are capable of putting together articles much faster than the way the human mind can. However, these articles are often devoid of emotion and can’t connect on the same level as a human author can. So, for now, there are certain jobs that automation can’t touch, but how long will it take for automation technology to catch up?

Please keep in mind that we’re not insinuating that technological advancement is bad; we’re just trying to raise awareness for how it affects the worldwide economy and job market. It doesn’t matter if a specific technology can eliminate work for manufacturers and businesses if it puts hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

Yet, in many cases, technological advancement can be exceptionally beneficial. Consider, for a moment, how outsourcing can help your business. When you outsource to a third party, you’re essentially receiving a good or service from someone else. You’re purchasing their professional skills for the good of your business. So, in a manner of speaking, you’re augmenting your business’ IT with a valuable automated service in the form of our talented technology professionals.

At Info Advantage, we aren’t looking to replace your internal IT department. Rather, we want to work with them and help your business achieve its greatest potential. Regardless of your current IT’s role in management and maintenance, we can pick up the slack where they fall short. We’re firm believers in working together for the betterment of our clients. If your internal staff doesn’t have the time or skill necessary to perform regular IT maintenance, Info Advantage can step in and handle this responsibility for you. If the opposite is true, and your team doesn’t have time to implement new innovative solutions, we can perform this role for you.

Ultimately, our professional IT technicians are more potent and valuable than any robotic IT system can be. To learn more about co-managed IT, give us a call at (585) 254-8710.


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Avoiding Back Pain and Eye Strain in the Office

Avoiding Back Pain and Eye Strain in the Office

Working at a desk is a fairly inescapable for the modern office worker. The trouble with sitting at a desk for long intervals is that it causes physical issues, especially if the workspace isn’t properly set up. Fortunately, you don’t have to invest in specialized equipment; it’s fairly simple to establish best practices that will ensure employee comfort and productivity.

Chair Specifications
While this may not be the first issue to enter your mind as you consider sources of discomfort in the workplace, it only makes sense to assure that the office chairs are as comfortable as possible. After all, it is where the employee will spend most of their day. A good office chair will have a cushion (preferably with breathable fabric) as well as armrests for the times the employee stops typing. The arms should be bent at 90 degrees and resting on the arms with relaxed shoulders. As for the backrest, height and angle should both be adjustable to keep posture upright - and the best will include some form of lumbar support.

Desktop Hardware Positioning
Ideally, the keyboards should line up to your employees’ positions so that there’s a straight line from their navels to their “B” keys; mouse at the same level, and as close to the keyboard as possible. Heightwise, the keyboard and mouse should be at a level where the typist will bend at the elbows, not the wrists. The monitor(s) should be positioned so that the top edge of the monitor is about two or three inches above the user’s eye line. One last note concerning monitors: glare should be eliminated as much as is possible. Here is a handy chart for determining ideal desk proportions.

Using the Right Equipment
Of course, using properly-sized equipment is only half of the battle - it also must be used properly. Posture is key to minimizing soreness and discomfort. Beyond the arm positioning and eye level of the monitors, leaning and slouching will cause stiffness. You should suggest that your employees position themselves to be sitting up straight, shoulders relaxed, and avoid reaching for items on their desks.

Be Sure to Take Breaks
It is also recommended that those working with computers and screens take frequent breaks to reduce the strain on the muscles and eyes. Stretching, getting up and moving around, or at least looking away from the screen are all highly recommended.

One might ask why they should invest time and resources into assuring that their employees sit properly. The simple answer: a comfortable employee is a productive employee. Without the distraction of physical discomfort, a team will accomplish more, treat your clients better, and generally improve the environmental experience of the workplace.

So, how else could some small environmental adjustments improve office productivity? Let us know in the comments below!

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Do Your Employees Know What to Do During a Disaster?

Do Your Employees Know What to Do During a Disaster?

Disasters can strike at any moment to anyone, with very little warning. While many businesses are prepared with their Business Continuity Plan (BCP,) many organizations may not take the time to fully explain their BCP to their employees, leaving them scrambling when a disaster does strike. Here are a few steps every business should take to ensure that their employees know exactly what to do in the event of a disaster.

Plan Ahead

For any plan to work, there needs to be proper preparation to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You want to give your employees a clear direction to follow in the case of a disaster, so they know exactly what to do the moment it happens. The best way to work through the execution of a BCP is to hold a meeting with all your employees to talk about what needs to be done, and who will do it. You want clearly defined roles and open lines of communication, so employees will know exactly what to do and who to contact in an emergency.

Have the Proper Tools

A plan can only work if you have the right tools to execute it. In the event that your business goes down, it can mean the inability to work and loss of important data. One way to avoid these issues is by hosting some or all of your business activities through a cloud service. These services will allow you and your employees to access important work documents from just about anywhere. This means that even if the office is down, employees will be able to set up their workstation from another location almost instantly. Investing in a cloud-based VoIP will allow any calls sent to a down phone line to be redirected to another location, such as the employee’s personal cellphone.

Practice Your Plan

When it comes to executing a BCP, practice makes perfect. Let your employees get a feel for the tools you have provided them so that they will know exactly what they are dealing with in the case of a disaster. This includes providing them training for any hardware or software they need to use, creating a sense of familiarity that will directly relate to a seamlessly executed BCP.  Take the time to review with each employee, and make sure they completely understand what needs to be done by them.

Don’t wait until a disaster hits to worry about your business continuity plan. Contact Info Advantage today at (585) 254-8710 to speak to a professional about how you can ensure your business will run smoothly even when faced with a disaster.

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Is Unplugging From Technology a Good Idea While On Vacation?

Is Unplugging From Technology a Good Idea While On Vacation?

Vacations are an important part of maintaining one’s sanity, especially if you’re a business owner. However, unless you have a reliable staff that can handle the management of your business, chances are that you might feel like you can’t get away from the office long enough to relax. While it might seem tempting to disconnect yourself from the office entirely while on vacation, it’s actually better for your business if you don’t.

Consider this: your employees encounter a major issue that only you can resolve, but they have no way to contact you while you’re out of the office. If this happens, progress can be hindered and you’ll come back to one catastrophe after another. This is why completely disconnecting from the office can be a bad idea. In order to keep your business healthy and functioning, even while you’re out of the office on vacation, consider using these strategies to stay connected to your team.

  • Check your email once a day. It’s easy to check your email when you’re in the office; you might have a tab up on a monitor with your email open all day. However, while you’re on vacation, this could mean sitting on the beach with your smartphone. If you want to fully enjoy your vacation, you should limit yourself to checking email once a day, and only respond to immediate and important inquiries. Not everything is a priority, and you should be able to determine the immediacy of a task or request. Plus, by dealing with these issues without them all piling up, you make your return to the office easier.
  • Set boundaries for your availability. If you’re concerned about your employees bugging you while you’re on vacation, make sure that they know when you’re available. You should try to limit yourself as much as possible (considering you’re still on vacation); perhaps an hour in the morning or afternoon would be best. You can use this time to check in with the office and ensure that operations are proceeding forward as intended. You can then get back to enjoying your vacation.
  • Establish a clear chain of command in your absence. Leadership is an important part of being a business owner, so it’s your responsibility to make sure your employees have someone to look to for guidance in your absence. In fact, having a clear chain of command even while you’re in the office can be a great benefit. This helps your team stay organized, and can make the delegation of issues and responsibilities easier in the long run. If you have someone you can rely on to handle any issues that surface while you’re away, your vacation will be that much sweeter.

By using these three tips to your advantage, your business will be in much better shape while you’re away on vacation. This means that you can enjoy your time off, without worrying about whether or not your business will be standing when you return to the office. For more great tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to Info Advantage’s blog.

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4 Ways Stress Can Be Good (and Bad) for Your Business

4 Ways Stress Can Be Good (and Bad) for Your Business

Stress is one of those things that you can’t escape, no matter how hard you try, and it can takes a toll on your workday. Despite this, there are (surprisingly) some redeeming factors to stress to be considered.

When talking about stress, there’s one important detail that cannot be overlooked: stress created for the sole purpose of being stressed is not a good motivator. Inc states that “stress that comes from not having enough information or that’s based on an irrational fear is a poor motivator.” In other words, it’s important to keep stress to a minimum whenever possible, as there’s quite literally no reason to be stressed about everything and everyone around you. You need to retain control if you want to harness the power of stress.

That being said, there are some benefits to be gained from the occasional bout of stress. Here are four of them.

Stress Provides an Energy Boost
Stress is often draining and is known to sap energy from you, but if something urgent comes up, this stress can become a motivating factor that provides energy. With this kind of stress, you’ll become more aware of your surroundings and find that you’ll have the energy needed to get your work done.

Stress Proves That You Care About Your Work
If you’ve been stressed out about a project, you might go through a couple of stages where you initially hate yourself for it. Eventually, you might claim that you just don’t care and that you want it to be over with as soon as possible. However, the stress is a signal that you do actually care about how the project turns out. If you’re stressing about a project, take solace in the understanding that you do actually care.

Stress Can Teach You to Enjoy the Little Things
There’s something to be said about a hard day’s work. Imagine if you had a job where you had to be exposed to sweltering weather all day, under incredible physical duress on an empty stomach. Now imagine going home after the day’s work to an air-conditioned home with a delicious meal sitting on the dinner table. It’s the little things that make working with stress bearable. If you understand this concept, you’ll have a greater appreciation for the time that you’re not stressed.

Stress Can Inspire Quick Action
Stress is something that nobody wants to deal with, so it’s only natural that they move toward the solution: eliminating the stress. This means that people will work swiftly and efficiently toward removing the stress factor from their lives, regardless of what that entails. This doesn’t mean that you should go out of your way to stress yourself out; instead, it means that you’ll work with urgency when it’s required.

While there are advantages to stress, it’s still something that needs to be managed and mitigated whenever possible. While you might not be able to do much for stress caused by problems outside the office, you can assist them with managing their workplace issues. One of the ways that you can make your employees’ lives easier is by providing functional, working technology that helps them perform their jobs to the best of their ability.

Our managed IT services are just what the busy business owner needs to eliminate frustrations caused by dysfunctional technology solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at (585) 254-8710.

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Tip of the Week: No Internet? No Problem! 3 Ways to Be Productive Without the Internet

b2ap3_thumbnail_no_electric_no_internet_400.jpgMost modern businesses need access to crucial parts of their infrastructure in order to keep operations moving forward. For example, your building’s electricity is necessary to power your technology, and without an Internet connection, you could be losing out on hours of potential productivity. What can you do to minimize downtime and make the best out of a bad situation?

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