Working from home is the new normal, and many organizations will likely remain at least partially remote after the current health threat ends. An April Gartner survey found that half of the organizations surveyed reported 81 percent or more of their employees are working remotely based on the current events.
Now that most offices are closed, employees have lost access to one of the most basic functionalities that an office location supplies: access to advanced and high-capacity printing. It’s time to reshape your print strategy to meet the needs of your now remote associates.
There are many complications in printing from home (or between homes) that either wouldn’t exist, or would have already been solved, in an office setting—including complex security risks, connection difficulties, supply strain (printers, ink, paper), and obsolete workflows (the way in which things get sent to print-from where and how). Your business needs to consider facilitating secure, connective, and simple printing solutions for your remote associates.
Five Tips for Standing up Successful Printing in a Remote Organization
As your organization looks for new printing solutions for your remote employees, you will find that there are many good ones to consider. From the types of products and platforms your organization prints with, to how and where to provide these solutions, here are some ways to help keep your remote workforce up and running—or in this case ‘printing’.
1) Smaller, Smarter Printer Products
The traditional one-stop-shop, multifunction printer (MFP)—also called all-in-one (AIO) standard office printer—designed for high-volume printing, is not going to cut it right now. Your associates can’t even go to the office to use it. Designed for the use of all, these printers typically include features, like faxing, scanning, an automatic document feeder (ADF), Ethernet, two-sided printing, sometimes an extra hard drive, and even large-format printing capabilities. These printers were built to do it all and be used by all (in your workplace that is).
Your remote associates probably don’t need all of these standard abilities in their home printers. Look for affordable smaller options that are designed for their lighter work output. The range of features to consider in small printer technology is quite limitless: bundled software, LCD display, memory, processor speed, page volume, smart app compatibility, light display, sheet input and output. A managed print service provider can consult with your IT team to identify which exact features your variety of users will need, but here are examples of at-home printers that are smart and flexible, and can cater to your working-from-home employees.
2) Application Compatible Printers
Just as apps keep you connected in many facets of your business, when integrated with printing devices, apps let users connect across locations, and between users and their devices. Keep in mind the potential security risks associated with wireless, mobile applications. It’s best to use apps that are packaged for the particular devices your associates use. Because apps give remote associates the ability to print from their mobile devices, be sure to select products that are compatible with the right apps, and check to make sure the apps will run on the variety of mobile devices (IOS/Android) your employees use. HP Smart App is a great example of a user-friendly application platform that is compatible with their latest HP devices.
3) Define A Scalable Approach
As rapidly as the workforce has shifted, it is likely that organizations will continue to alter where and how users do work, so scalability should be top of mind when deploying devices such as printers. Device-as-a-Service gives businesses exactly the amount of print capacity they need. As organizations alternate between fully remote, semi-remote, no-longer remote—whichever direction the new normal plays out—the need to increase or reduce devices with a consumption-based model will become more important.
4) Rely on Experience
Try as you might, you can’t predict the future. Though a managed service provider doesn’t have a crystal ball either, they can give you solid advice and recommendations. Lean on an experienced provider to manage your print capabilities and print fleet infrastructure. Managed print services, which can provide automated monitoring, maintenance, and strategic guidance and support, can do your organization’s printing related heavy lifting—so you can focus on putting out other fires. Speaking of fires, security risks have ignited a blaze within many organizations as they struggle to adapt to remote workflows. Leverage an IT service provider that will conduct a print security assessment, analyzing the security, operations and total cost of ownership related to your printing capabilities.
5) Designated Offsite Printing
Let’s say for your general printing use cases, you’re covered (or getting there), but for deliverables, such as sales collateral, banners, and signage, larger size printing is still relevant to your business and also can’t be done at home. Working with an offsite printing resource can cover the gap. Additionally, if you have associates across the map, we recommend leaning on an offsite printing provider that also hosts several locations that are local to your wide-spread employees. With over 1,100 store locations, offering a vast range of printing services, Office Depot is a great offsite printing option.
CompuCom and HPI
As you look for the right approach to continue meeting your organization's printing needs, consider a partner that knows what you need, when you need it, and how to get you to where you need to be. Offering the complete line of HP industry-standard products and solutions, CompuCom additionally employs HP-certified consultants and engineers, both on-site and in remote locations, providing quick, high-level, technical sales and service support.