Five considerations when buying printers for a remote workforce

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.

2. Better use of space

Even before social distancing, the effective use 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.

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.

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 must 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.

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.

Brother International Gulf FZE offers a wide range of multifunction printers, scanners, sewing machines, and label printers. As the central hub, it manages a vast network of authorized distributors across the Middle East, Levant, and substantial parts of Africa, including South Africa, ensuring accessibility and distribution.