The past year has seen a huge shift in how businesses across the world operate, with many now having to manage remote or hybrid workforces and all the complexities that brings. Organisations had to pivot fast to survive and sometimes, especially in small and medium sized businesses where resources are limited, that meant that details were overlooked. Many business owners are now playing catch up with the consequences of the changes that were necessary in the early days of the pandemic.
Understandably, for most businesses printing was not one of the areas that was prioritised when employees moved to remote working. Most managers and HR departments asked one of two questions; Do you have a printer at home? or Do you need us to supply a printer? If it was the latter, the cheapest model was chosen, something with no frills that would get the job done. After all, there was no budget put aside to kit out employee’s home offices and it wouldn’t be required for more than a few months anyway – right?
Not the case, as you know. The pandemic has changed the world as we know it and it continues to do so daily. Many businesses are now accepting of the fact that a remote or hybrid workforce will become a permanent part of their structure and as a result employee contracts, BYOD policies and processes must be updated to protect both the employees and the business.
Quocirca is a global market insight and research firm specialising in analysing the convergence of print and digital technologies in the future workplace.
Excerpt from Quocirca, Home Printing Trends, Executive Summary, 2021
“In November 2020, Quocirca conducted a study of 455 UK and US home workers to explore what impact the sudden, forced migration of workforces from offices to working from home had on printing. The research targeted employees who were printing in the office before the pandemic and excluded those who didn’t print at all pre-pandemic.”
- Remote working is here to stay with 52% of respondents expecting to work flexibly between the home and office. Almost a fifth expect to continue to work completely from home (18%). Just 17% of UK respondents expect to return to the office full time compared to 35% of US workers.
- The majority of respondents have access to a home printer, with just 17% indicating that their employer has provided them with a printer. 86% have a printer at home, with 54% stating that they owned it before the COVID-19 crisis. Two fifths (42%) have made upgrades to their printer since the pandemic. 38% of those with home printers state that they have covered printing costs themselves, with 40% saying that they can claim some or all consumables expenses. Overall, only 17% report that their employer has provided a printer for work purposes, which rises to 23% in the US and drops to 10% in the UK.
- Home workers believe they are more productive than in the office. 87% say their productivity levels have stayed the same or increased since working from home, with a larger percentage of US workers (56%) seeing a rise than in the UK (41%).
- Shadow print purchasing is creating security vulnerabilities. While some employees appear to be aware of the potential security risks associated with home printing, many are not. Only around half of employees (51%) are concerned about security when using their home printer. The US has much greater security concerns, with 37% being very concerned, against 8% in the UK. More worrying is the fact that only just over two fifths of employers are educating/training their employees on the potential risks and how to maintain data protection compliance (46%). Again, the US (50%) is well ahead of the UK (40%) in this area. Overall, even fewer (34%) are tracking documents or providing guidelines on the disposal of confidential documents. This gap and lack of awareness leaves an open door to potential security threats, which is particularly worrying with home working set to remain for many organisations.
- Workers are missing office printer functionality. The three biggest benefits of an office printer missed by those working from home are print speed (57%), not being responsible for maintenance (47%), and being able to print for free (46%). When considering the purchase of a home printer, respondents are most concerned about running costs of a home printer (46%) and are most likely to favour options that are reliable (45%) and easy to maintain (42%).
- The majority of respondents expect to be printing the same or less than pre-COVID on return to the office. Overall, on their return to the office, 31% of respondents expect to print less post-COVID-19 than they did before the pandemic. 38% expect to print the same amount, with just under a quarter (24%) saying they’ll print more – rising to 33% in the US, compared to only 13% of UK respondents.
- HP is seen as the home and office technology leader. When it comes to choosing a brand, HP is the clear leader. 47% consider HP as a leader for home printing, followed by Canon (21%) and Epson (13%). HP is also the brand most likely to be considered for the home office (74%), and the brand that around half of respondents already own (49%).
Stacked has been supplying Irish businesses with printing hardware since 2007 and Managed Print Solutions since 2011.
If you would like a free, no obligation audit of your current printer fleet (on and offsite) with a view to ensuring you have full visibility and control of every printing device connected to your network, get in touch today.
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We can help you negate the challenges introduced by increased printing in the home such as security risks, managing consumables, and auditing and monitoring print costs.
Our expert consultants can arrange either an onsite or remote printer fleet audit, at your convenience, which will identify any potential for improvements as well as ways to reduce the number of touchpoints on any on-site shared devices.