Up-to-date technology can make a great impact on employee morale and productivity. Poor technology is one of the top three causes of low productivity, while satisfied employees are more likely to have access to the latest tech, such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.
You don’t have to break the bank to create a more productive and satisfying work environment. Even a small investment in the right device can produce big changes in the office. Here are a few ideas to get started, each costing less than $250.
Add a second (or third) monitor
Adding an additional monitor to your setup is one of the easiest ways to increase productivity—by as much as 35%. Not only does an extra screen make it easier to multi-task or work between different documents, studies suggest that people who work with a notebook and an additional monitor actually feel more comfortable at their desks and report higher levels of satisfaction and creativity than those who work with a notebook alone.
Just about anyone can benefit from working with an additional monitor—including designers, customer service professionals, knowledge workers, financial industry workers, engineers, executives, and even road warriors (yes, there are portable monitors).
Upgrade your wireless router
“The wireless router is arguably the most important piece of computer equipment since it connects the rest of your gadgets to one another and the internet,” says CNET’s Dong Ngo.4 Indeed, if you and your employees work over the internet or via a wireless connection to a server, then you can benefit from a faster wireless connection.
The fastest wireless routers currently feature 802.11ac, which offers connection speeds up to 1733 Mbit/s, sometimes referred to as Gigabit Wi-Fi. Another benefit of 802.11ac is that it can operate on a 5GHz band, which is less common than the 2.4GHz band used by older models, and thus less likely to encounter interference from common tech such as cordless phones and microwave ovens. Plus, 802.11ac routers are backwards compatible, meaning they’ll still work with older PCs and printers, too.
Alternatively, if your wireless router already features 802.11ac, consider investing in a wireless range extender. As the name suggests, it extends the range of your wireless network to eliminate dead zones and provide a strong Wi-Fi signal for all the devices in your office. That way, even the corner conference room tucked behind concrete pillars can receive fast wireless speeds.
Set up a docking station
Docking stations allow quick access to full desktop setups—including monitor(s), keyboard, and mouse—with a single connection. They also enable additional connections, such as USB 3.0, HDMI, and an Ethernet connection, which may not otherwise be available on your notebook.
Docking stations are great for road warriors who aren’t always in the office and don’t need a regular desktop or designated setup. They also offer an easy way to accommodate guests, clients, and freelancers who bring their own notebooks to the office but prefer a more traditional setup.
Supply spare adapters
All workers are mobile nowadays, whether that means hitting the road for a business trip, checking email in a coffee shop, or working from home. According to a 2013 NSBA survey, the majority of small firms allow their employees to telecommute.7 And nearly 40% of small business employees surveyed for the Staples Advantage Workplace Index reported working on weekends at least once a month.
One downside to this mobility is that employees have to carry power adapters in order to recharge their notebooks or mobile devices. Offering employees spare adapters to keep in laptop cases or leave at home is an easy, affordable way to make their mobile lives a little bit easier and avoid any problems relating to lost or forgotten adapters.
Enable wireless printing—in and out of the office
Printing is an essential part of modern business. When someone’s walking into a meeting or preparing a contract, he or she doesn’t have time to mess around with an unwieldy system or power up a separate device just to access the printer. Wireless printing allows you to access printers from anywhere on any device—both in and out of the office. This includes wireless networking printing, wireless direct printing (which doesn’t require a wireless network), and on-the-go printing. That way no matter how you work—whether it’s on your phone, on the road, or in the office—there’s a solution that can make your life easier.
Provide tech support
There are two reasons to provide technical/IT support. When something goes wrong with your computer or printer, and there is no obvious solution or next step, it’s easy to get upset or feel powerless. Tech support provides a support system for your staff. It can also save you time and money. By offering live tech support, your employees can get the answers they need on demand, and get back to work quickly.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to provide powerful tech support either. Subscriptions make it easy to increase your capabilities on a budget, and can offer a variety of support options via phone, email, remote access, and more. Choose the service level you need and be assured that if something goes wrong, help is available.
Consider all the options above and identify where you think your investment would make the most difference in your office. From additional monitors to wireless printers, a little tech investment can go a long way towards creating a more satisfying and productive work environment.
* US pricing available at HP.com and is subject to change without notice
 Staples Advantage, Key Highlights of the 2015 Staples Advantage® Workplace Index, 2015
 Koala LLC Ergonomics Consulting, Observed Productivity, Efficiency and User Satisfaction when Using Multiple or Large Displays, 2012
 Ziff Davis Enterprise, Notebook in Your Bag, Monitor On Your Desk, 2010
 CNET, Best wireless routers of 2015
 CNET, Best 802.11ac routers of 2015
 Forbes, 802.11ac vs 802.11n WiFi: What’s the Difference?
 NSBA, 2013 Small Business Technology Survey, 2013