Quocirca’s Home Printing Trends 2021 study reveals that home workers are embracing new ways of working, with the majority (87%) reporting that productivity is the same or has increased since working from home. Consequently, over half (52%) expect that their future workstyle will embrace a hybrid model of office and home working.
While the majority have access to a printer, only 10% say that their employer has provided them with a printer for home use. Of those with a home printer, just 17% say that they are fully reimbursed for printing costs, with a further 44% having some level of recompense for consumables. Although 42% have upgraded their printer since the pandemic, these purchases are most likely unauthorised and printers may not meet corporate security guidelines.
For print manufacturers and the channel, this will create new opportunities around the provision of new services that deliver secure and flexible approaches to enabling efficient printing across the hybrid environment. This includes extending MPS contracts to encompass home printing, and offering proactive service and supplies replenishment, as well as providing integrated tools that manage printing and document workflow across the home and office environments.
This report highlights the key trends in printing and digital technologies in the home environment, what home workers look for in a home office printer, and how their productivity is supported by printing. It also discusses the challenges and opportunities for print suppliers as we move into a new era of hybrid working.
- 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. This will have ongoing implications for office printing as offices operate at lower capacity with a shift from centralised to distributed office spaces.
- The majority of respondents have access to a home printer, with just 10% indicating that their employer has provided them with a printer. The majority of those surveyed have a printer at home (86%), with 54% stating that they owned it before the COVID-19 crisis. Two fifths (42%) have made upgrades to their printer. 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%). The highest rise in productivity is reported by retail respondents (62%) compared to government/public sector/healthcare (34%).
- 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%). 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 (43%) 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%).
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