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Five considerations when buying printers for a remote workforce

COVID-19 has forced us all to rethink the way we work. Employers and employees alike are having to adapt their working practices to meet this challenge – and printing is a key element in that evolutionary process.

The rise in remote working has forced businesses to think differently about printing solutions – especially the need to make printing easier for employees, no matter their location.

With businesses considering what they can do to support workers during these challenging times, devices that enable remote working and offer easy integration into people's domestic networks are essential if both your staff and your business are to benefit.

So, if you’re charged with selecting IT equipment in your business ask yourself:

‘What are the five things I should consider when buying printers for a remote workforce?’


  1. Connectivity and simplicity

    The average worker isn't an IT expert, so reducing the technical complexity of installing, troubleshooting and maintaining their printer should be a key priority. Giving your people fewer things to worry about helps avoid time wasted on helpline calls and needless downtime - and allows them to focus on what they're good at and get on with their job.

    And we know that people aren't always at their laptops when working from home, so to help maintain efficiency, smartphone and tablet apps can help make tasks run more smoothly.

    In order to help your people work from home effectively, you might consider the benefits of a short-term Managed Print Services home working contract, that gives them everything they need to stay productive. In addition to the hardware, you can include remote installation, automatic toner ordering and delivery - and the ability to identify and fix problems remotely makes life easier and safer for everyone.

  2. Better use of space

    Even before social distancing, the effective us of office space was often a key consideration for businesses. But, with people now adapting their spare rooms and kitchen tables into workspaces, choosing print devices that are space efficient is more important than ever.

    If your business is considering investing in devices for your remote workers, remember that home office users may not necessarily need a high spec device, and many may have challenging space constraints. In these instances, compact machines with small footprints will help make the most of the limited space they have available.

    However, as businesses increasingly overcome other remote working challenges, such as connectivity, collaboration and security, users will begin to expect the same level of improvement across the board. This means having as close to full office functionality at home as possible. Making sure you balance your users' space constraints with their functionality expectations may take more time in the short term but will deliver long-term benefits in user satisfaction.

  3. Environmental concerns

    Businesses and their staff are becoming increasingly conscious about the environment. More than ever, people want to buy from businesses that have sustainable processes in place1 - and employees are looking for employers who take sustainability seriously2.

    We know that businesses usually only evaluate their printer sustainability during the operational part of its life cycle, because this is where significant costs are incurred (consumables and power). But what considerations should businesses have for keeping things sustainable for staff working from home?

    It is important to remember that while sustainability gains here reduce costs, the key to making a real difference is to consider sustainability at every stage of your equipment's life cycle. This includes devices that may be based in employees’ home offices, and businesses must ensure that the equipment provided is relative to the work being done.

    Ask yourself: Has the printer been sourced sustainably? Does my provider offer free collection and recycling of toner cartridges? And will they dispose of it for me in line with the EU's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive?

  4. Security

    Every company says that data security is paramount. But when the focus is on protecting servers, computers and databases, it's easy to forget that printers need to be just as secure as the other devices on your network.

    Given that it’s unlikely that people’s home networks will have enterprise level security in place, you have to be careful not to offer a back door into your otherwise secure network.

    Without the benefit of a secured network behind a corporate-level firewall, remote workers will be looking for help to manage their printer security. Choosing printers with high level security features such as end-to-end encryption will help address those concerns -  and you can read more about protecting your data in our Print Security blog.

    If your remote workers already have their own printers, we'd advise asking about their security features to make sure they meet your security standards, before agreeing to their use. And finally, ensure you close the security loop by providing remote workers with the ability to shred and safely dispose of confidential documentation.

  5. Cost-efficiency

    As businesses continue to navigate the challenges of resourcing and managing the needs of a remote workforce, any incremental savings on time, efficiency and cost are vital contributions towards profitability.

    Investing in a Managed Print Service makes it easy to track printer use in detail - helping you identify areas where you can optimise your printing and make those all-important cost and efficiency gains. With an MPS, not only can usage be capped to manage spend, your contract also covers maintenance support that eliminates unpredicted costs if a device stops working.

    Beyond an MPS, setting up printers to run more economically is a simple way to help reduce costs for you and your employees. For example, engaging sleep-mode in the settings reduces energy consumption if a printer is sitting unused. And you can reduce the amount of toner and paper you use by adjusting printer settings such as downgrading print quality for drafts, printing in grayscale or printing multiple pages on a single page.


Find out more about the top five features of a Managed Print Service here.


1. www.entrepreneur.com: "It's Official: Customers Prefer Sustainable Companies" - December 2018
2. ft.com: "Jobseekers want employers to commit to meaningful social impact" - October 2019

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