Controlling: Human resources vs gear

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What is the maximum cost of an employee's PC?

Many project managers, CIOs and CTOs ask themselves this question again and again: What is the cost of the equipment of my employees so that the ratio between work materials and employee costs is in line? Let's start with a simple calculation: We calculate the depreciation time for work materials at 3 years. An employee, who now costs 40,000 USD gross per annum, therefore, including all additional costs rounded costs about 140,000 USD costs in three years.

If this employee, who already has a desktop PC with two screens, now requests a third monitor for 500, - USD net (without 19% VAT), the simple calculation is 140,000 / 500, which is about 0.3% correspond. So if the added value for this employee increases by 0.3% or more in terms of performance, satisfaction and earnings with this investment, then it is justified. This would mean, if the employee would save 90 seconds per day (by changing windows or switching desktops), this investment would make sense (8 hours are 480 minutes and 0.3% of them are about 1.5 minutes, ergo 90 seconds).

Another example would be the upgrade of memory from 8 GB to 16 GB. The employee now complains in our example that he often needs to restart the computer in the evening, since the memory of programs such as PhpStorm or Google Chrome is exhausted. Unfortunately, the employee must restart after restarting programs such as Docker, Grunt etc. and needs about 30 minutes until everything is set up again. This employee now earns 50,000 USD gross per year, which corresponds to approximately 175,000 USD in three years.

So if you now calculate these 30 minutes for about every other day, this is 15 minutes a day, which is lost because of the low memory. This is a two-thirds of a normal 8-hour workday. In three years this would amount to approx. 5,500 USD. So if the upgrade of the memory does not exceed 5,500 USD, you should act immediately and expand the memory.


If you are unsure whether an extension of the materials of your employees really makes sense, make them better. Only in rare exceptional cases will such an investment be negative for your company. If, for example, For example the trainee with a gross salary of 700,- USD a 10.000 USD computer required, but this would guarantee only 1% increase in the work performance would be sure to reject such a case. However, all other cases are very likely to be useful, since personnel costs are the largest cost factor for most service providers.

Human resources is a big cost factor but you may still save some money

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