Working remotely has been a crucial aspect of flattening the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this measure is temporary for some businesses, for others it is here to stay.
Small and medium-sized businesses across Canada have realized just how many benefits they can realize from allowing their workforce to operate from the comforts of their own home.
In fact, Statistics Canada found that 4.7 million Canadians who don’t normally work from home have started to in response to the pandemic, and that’s from data recorded back in March. It’s likely these numbers have only gone up since.
Once the research added in all of the workers who normally work from home, the stay-at-home workforce in Canada earlier this year rose to 6.8 million - that’s nearly 40 percent of Canada’s entire workforce.
There’s a number of good reasons why small businesses will continue allowing their employees to work from home long after the pandemic is over. In fact, according to Owl Labs, 83 percent of workers (either remote or on-site) say that a remote work opportunity would make them feel happier at their job.
If your organization is considering using a remote workforce long into the future, there are a few basic things that you will need to consider to ensure that they are successful in their role. Setting up an effective home office has now become more important than ever. A productive home office should take into account everything from cybersecurity, desktops, laptops, monitors, software and communication tools.
One of the most overlooked technologies for the home office is the printer. A printer is essential for any remote worker that operates in a document-heavy role. Printers are important for many small businesses, whether it is for signing and scanning documents, printing documents for review, making copies and much more.
Here are five important questions to consider when choosing a printing solution for your remote employees:
1 - Which brand or model should you buy?
Small businesses often get wrapped up in specific brands or models, with many unwilling to look for printers outside of what they have had before, have been recommended by a peer or read a review online.
The printer you decide to buy for your remote worker shouldn’t be based on a specific brand, but rather the unique needs of both your company and the team member you are purchasing it for. Factors such as your budget, what functions you need, its design and print speed should play a far more prominent role in your printer choice than any specific brand or model.
2 - To rent or to purchase?
As we covered in our previous blog, ‘Should My Business Purchase or Lease a Printer? The Pros and Cons’, one of the most common questions that small and medium-sized businesses have is whether they should purchase or rent a printer.
There are a number of pros and cons to each, which you can read in more detail in the blog. For company’s searching for a printer for their remote employees, the costs may be the most important aspect here.
If your employee is only working at home temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to purchase a cheaper printer and only have to deal with a one-off payment. Here at OT Group we sell a range of new and refurbished printers that could work for your company’s specific needs.
If however, your team member is working from home in the future, you may want to consider leasing. By leasing a printer you will have low upfront costs and stable payments until the contract ends. This set cost can see your supplier deal with any maintenance fees or issues at no extra charge.
3 - How much space does your employee have?
Buying a printer for your employee’s home isn’t like buying a printer for your company’s physical office, you can’t just buy any size printer and then find a space for it. The printer needs to fit into your employee’s home office, and they need to be happy with how it looks - after all, they will be the one working next to it.
Open a dialogue with your remote worker before purchasing a printer, and try to get a good idea of how compact they need the printer to be. This will give you an idea of what sized printer you should be looking for.
4 - What will the printer be used for?
The type of work that your remote employee is doing will heavily dictate the type of printer you end up choosing. If they are printing simple documents to sign then you will be able to get away with something less expensive, but if their job involves printing photographs or flyers to send to clients then you will need a much higher-performing printer.
Just like most home office technologies, you get what you pay for with printers. You will be able to save money if your employee doesn’t need a world-class printer, but at the same time, you don’t want to choose something that ends up damaging the quality of work that your employee is producing.
5 - How much colour ink will your employees be using?
The kind of documents that your stay-at-home employees will be printing will play a significant role in which printer you will want to buy or rent for them. Will they need to print, scan and copy documents? Will they be printing documents with lots of colours such as pamphlets and posters? Or will they be printing simple documents that are only needed in black and white?
If they are printing simple black and white documents, then a monochrome printer will work just fine. If colour documents are a requirement for their role, however, then a colour printer will be needed.
The most important thing to remember is that even though your employees may need to print in colour, it’s actually incredibly unlikely that they will do so often. The vast majority of businesses are paying way too much for their colour printing. That’s because most colour printing service plans charge the same amount for a speck of colour as they do for an entire page of colour.
To help prevent your business overpaying for colour printing and losing valuable profits, OT Group has introduced its unique Colour-Coded Pricing Plan. This innovative plan uses colour tracking technology to ensure your business only pays for the colour toner that you actually use on each printed document.
Want to learn how our team of office technology experts can help your organization find the right printer solution for your stay-at-home employees? Contact us today. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you have.