Beyond the workstations, computers, furniture, telecom systems and copiers, there are a few important pieces of equipment that your office needs to operate efficiently. These tools may not be on the basic shopping list of the average office but you would be surprised how useful and convenient they can be when you need them, and the difference they can make to your day-to-day operations. Once you get them, you will wonder how you survived without these essential business machines.

1. Shredder

In a world where information is king, how well you protect your data could determine the very future of your company. From board meeting minutes and financial and bank statements to credit cards and IDs, confidential information in the wrong hands makes your business operation vulnerable to security breaches that may threaten its existence. You also have a duty of care to properly destroy hard copies of sensitive documents under the Privacy Act. Therefore, throwing documents you don’t need in the recycling bin doesn’t qualify as safe disposal. You need to effectively destroy them using a shredder.

This is what makes a shredder a critical business tool. When you have a shredder in your office, effective disposal of printed information is in your control. Given the sensitivity of information these documents may contain, outsourcing this job to a shredding service is not an option. So what kind of a shredder should you invest in for your office?

For optimal security, a cross-cut shredder is recommended; unlike a conventional machine that slices your documents into strips, which can be reassembled with a little effort, a cross-cutting shredder turns your documents into confetti that would be hard to put together. Also, go for a shredder that can handle and destroy non-paper items such as credit cards, CDs and DVDs as well as staples and paperclips for added convenience and security. An automated shredder is ideal for offices that have large amounts of information – printed or otherwise – to be destroyed. Once you fill the machine, you don’t have to be physically present for the shredder to do its job.

2. Binder

Ahead of board meetings, business presentations or client appointments, do you send out documents to be properly bound? Bound documents project your company’s professionalism while ensuring the information is presented in the right order. However, simple as it may sound, but outsourcing the binding job may also expose your company to potential data breaches when your documents are handled by a third party.

An in-house binding machine allows you to quickly and easily create properly bound documents for internal and external use. Choose a clear plastic front cover and leather grain back cover, and bind your documents with a plastic comb or wire spine. You can personalise the presentation of your report, contract or proposal further by selecting the colour for the back cover and spine, and featuring a custom designed front cover. With your own binder in the office, you can make as many bound sets as you need, and when you need them. Comb binding allows you to add or remove pages if needed and even reuse the covers and spine for another report.

3. Laminator

Over a period of time, the physical condition of paper in files or on display boards can deteriorate through constant handling. When you want your documents or paper displays to last longer, invest in a laminator. A very handy business machine, a commercial grade laminator can be used to protectively cover paper or cardboard with a plastic coating so it won’t rip, tear or smudge. An in-house lamination machine allows you to create custom signs and displays on demand – just print, laminate and put them up where necessary, indoors or out.

The lamination preserves your document, making it more durable and longer-lasting. You can also use your laminator to create IDs or nametags using the small laminating pouches or display your awards and certificates. A laminator is also useful to waterproof restaurant menus or protect manuals, for instance. Once the individual pages are laminated, use your binding machine to bring them all together in one neat presentable form.

In conclusion, there’s no more need to outsource simple tasks that you can do in-house with the right equipment. Not only do you save money on each job, you can also be sure your documents remain confidential. Now that you know how important and useful these business machines are, it’s time to get them into your office and make your life easier.