Paul Wherly

PC’S – On or Off each night?

PC’S – On or Off each night?

As an IT Support company based in London and looking after many small business owner’s businesses, we are often asked the question, whether to leave the PCs and laptops on or turn them off every night.

Long time ago

If we rewind about six or seven years ago an average PC would use roughly one hundred pounds worth of electricity per year if left on all the time. Today, with the smart power management on machines, the cost of running a PC 24/7, 365 days a year, will be about £50 per PC per year. For a laptop it will be even less.

An example – Is this you?

Let’s use an example of a Recruitment company with 20 staff and the computers are not maintained well. In this case the average PC will take anything from 5 to 10 minutes to boot up.

Sometimes even longer because when computer logs on, it wants to complete all the Windows updates that should have been done during the night and then another reboot. Sigh! The staff member in these cases normally either goes for cup of coffee whilst waiting for the PC to boot up, or they would speak to their fellow colleagues about what they did last night. All costing the business money and lost productivity because the staff member can’t work.

How long should a PC last?

A typical PC hard disk in a PC is designed to run continuously for 50,000 hours MTBF. That stands for mean time between failures and sadly I worked out how long this is. It equates to 7.7 years. Most business owners I know will replace their PCs well before that time period has passed because they like their staff to work as fast a possible.

Our advice

  • Make sure that your existing IT Support Company runs proactive maintenance and software updates on every PC/Laptop every week between 11pm and 6am, so that you can ensure the machines will boot up in less than one minute maximum, that is if you ever had to reboot it.
  • Always leave your PCs on and ask your IT Support Company to schedule a reboot once a week after 11pm and before 6am if your business working hours permits this.
  • Make sure your Power profile on your PC/laptop is set to put the machine to sleep 30mins after no activity. The same goes for the monitors.

How much does it cost to run a PC?

Running a computer and monitor that draws 145 watts over 8 hours would use 1.16 kWh which is about 15p (or 0.145kWh and 1.9p per hour). Using this every day for a month would cost about £4.20 and for a year about £50.40.

How much will I save by leaving the computers on every night?

Let’s do the numbers …

If your staff have to wait just five minutes each morning (35mins per week) for the PC to boot to a stage where they can open up Microsoft Word/Excel/Outlook, based on the national average salary of twenty-three and a half thousand pounds in the UK (2015), the nett loss to the business per employee will be four hundred pounds. Based on a twenty user Recruitment company, that will be a loss of eight thousand pounds per year. How does that make you feel?

Based on twenty machines costing fifty pounds in electricity a year to run (running for approx. eight hours a day with the correct power profile), the cost for the year will be one thousand pounds.

The conclusion will be a saving of seven thousand pounds per year in lost productivity for a 20 user company and that excludes the mental cost of staff members always having to wait.

About the Author:

Frances West is Director at Westtek …

At Westtek, we knew that significant change was needed if business owners and directors were to experience the real benefits of IT.  You want technology to work for your business, not the other way round!

Westtek have redefined the concept and delivery of IT around what is really important to you. With our services, IT and telecoms become business enablers, not drivers. We provide proactive management and maintenance of your systems and are continually developing our monitoring and management capability to improve this further.

In everything we do, we want our clients’ systems to work so well that they do not need to call us for support, only for advice and guidance as their business needs grow and evolve.

We work across London and the South East with a particular focus on Hertfordshire and Middlesex, with specialist skills covering Recruitment, Legal, Accounting & Finance as well as Educational organisations.

If you would like more tips and or advice on how to improve your IT systems to reduce productivity loss and frustration, please contact us on 0203 195 0555 or

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