First, it's important to understand that with PC power management software, IT has the ability to set computers to power on and off at pre-determined hours. If the workday at your office is 9 to 5, you could set machines to wake up at 8:50 a.m. and power down at 5:15 p.m., aside from weekends.
Better yet, you can invest some time "to understand users' work habits and tailor your PC power management policies to accommodate them versus a one-size-fits-all approach," says Washburn, both to get the most bang for your buck as well as to ensure you don't hinder employee productivity. For example, workers in customer-facing roles, such as call center operators or bank tellers, or those in jobs where every second counts, such as traders, would benefit from less aggressive PC power management policies, such as powering down only after the business day is done and on weekends.
Yet another barrier to PC power management cited by the surveyed IT admins: "Unable to perform PC management tasks (e.g. updates, patches, back ups) for PCs in lower power states." Fortunately, that obstacle is easy to scale. Thanks to Wake on LAN technology, there are PC power management and patch-management products capable of rousing powered-down machines for routine maintenance, then putting them back to sleep. Vendors include 1E, Verdiem, KACE, and BigFix.
I want to point out one final barrier to PC power management cited in the survey: Around 8 percent said, "Turning PCs on and off will reduce their performance and useful life." Fortunately, that's nothing more than a myth. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute: "Modern computers are designed to handle 40,000 on/off cycles before failure, and you're not likely to approach that number during the average computer's five to seven year life span. In fact, IBM and Hewlett Packard encourage their own employees to turn off idle computers, and some studies indicate it would require on/off cycling every five minutes to harm the hard drive."
The report goes on to say that "powering down your computer may actually extend its life cycle by reducing the intake of dust, which can cause fans to seize up or parts of circuit boards to overheat."
So there you have it: Perceived obstacles to PC power management and methods to overcome them. So now what's your excuse for not shutting down your company's PCs?