Anyone who has ever owned or managed a business will probably recognize the importance of consistent organization. If every category of inventory, for example, is organized in the same way, employees will be able to shift seamlessly from one shelf to another without needing to check manuals or receive additional training.
A similar phenomenon can benefit businesses who promote consistency in their approach to the use of IT services on the job. As we all know, equipment can fail. There would be no reason for a PC failure to lead to employee downtime, though, if the employee could simply shift to a computer that is not in use at the moment.
The real question is how quickly that employee can get up to speed using an alternate system. If your organization has a coherent system of managed programs with an IT specialist visiting at intervals to keep your computers in sync, there should be no loss of productivity at all. If you lack a managed program approach at your workplace, however, you may experience significant periods during which employees have to figure out how to accomplish a familiar task on an unfamiliar system.
Simply having the same browser installed on all company computers is a step in the right direction. Even better is to have the same browser with identical plug-ins so that employees who depend on a certain function will find it universally available at the worksite. This kind of coordination will not happen if employees personalize their machines with pet programs. A IT consultant-managed approach will yield the benefit of true consistency.