As a legal professional, it’s important to keep tabs on new tech investments that could make your workflow more efficient, meet client needs and position your law practice as being well-positioned for the future. However, are the premises so full of outdated tech that it seems impossible to invest in anything new?
If so, it’s time to learn how to dispose of tech responsibly. Here’s how to get started:
Do a Complete Tech Assessment
Many people who use tech at home or their workplaces stash old gadgets in drawers once they aren’t needed, telling themselves they’ll deal with them later. Then, the stuff gradually accumulates until it becomes painfully apparent that the old tech is overtaking an office space or another area.
It’s helpful to figure out what tech exists and the possibilities — or lack thereof — for other people to use it. For example, if a smartphone is old but still turns on and functions, you could donate it to a charity that gives phones to people in need. If the law firm still has a black-and-white TV from the ’80s that works, it may be worth putting it on a bidding site like eBay and appealing to people who like vintage items.
Making a list of all the tech items you want to discard and noting whether each item still has any usefulness will help you take further action.
Recycle Your Technology Through Specialized Programs
You can’t — or at least shouldn’t — throw away your tech by treating it the same way you would if it were general office waste. Since many of the products have batteries or other components that could explode or leak toxins into the environment, it’s essential that you take those products for recycling.
Major retailers, including Office Depot and Best Buy, also have electronics recycling programs. Best Buy reportedly collects more than 400 pounds of recycled items during every minute its stores are open for business.
Plus, if some of the recycled items still have value, people can trade them in for gift cards to buy new tech. Before joining a trade-in program, though, it’s smart to think about what’s needed and what people at your law firm are willing to use during their workdays.
A study about preferences for workplace tech shows about 75 percent of U.S. workers keep in touch with email and text messages despite the prominence of more up-to-date options like dedicated apps or platforms. That means that in some cases, people hesitate to adopt newer technologies. Conferring with colleagues is an excellent way to find out what tech they’re willing to use.
Consider if Problems Are Due to an Outdated Electrical Setup
Instead of working from modern office buildings, some law firms choose historical homes as their workspaces. In that case, some technology may not even work in that setting unless you get an electrician to do a renovation. For example, modern technology could overwhelm the power supply of a Victorian-era home, leading to blown fuses. Also, two-prong outlets usually aren’t suitable for today’s electronics.
If an electrical system is too old, the devices that people want to dispose of may not be broken. Instead, the problem may be that it’s time for an electrical-related upgrade. It’s good to keep that in mind, especially if expecting new tech to work with an old electrical system.
Think About Giving Old Smartphones to Kids
Are there people in the law firm with children who are ready to have smartphones? It’s not always easy for parents to decide when to give their kids those gadgets. Having family discussions about responsible usage and who pays for the service plan could help adults determine if it’s a good time to introduce their children to smartphones.
Then, the old phones that have accumulated at the office and still work could be distributed to younger people. When taking that approach, make sure all the necessary accessories are included and they are still functional. For example, it’d be inconvenient to offer someone an old phone without a charger.
Clear the Way for New Gadgets
Even when people intend to get rid of their old tech, actually doing it can be hard, especially if those items have sentimental value. Also, some individuals are reluctant to part with old gadgets because they think the safest approach is to hang onto them just in case they ever need or want to use them again.
Feeling slightly hesitant is understandable, but it’s important to keep a forward-thinking perspective. Getting rid of old tech in responsible ways creates more room for new additions.