When brainstorming ways to improve office productivity, your mind will likely go to ideas including wage increases, incentives and culture improvement initiatives.

While all of these things are important in their own ways, improving productivity can be as simple as updating a few core systems.

Let’s delve into one specific example – your printer setup. We’ll examine a few common mistakes that businesses of all sizes can make when it comes to printer setup, all of which can seriously impact productivity –  so that you can avoid replicating them. 

You need to think carefully about the most strategic place to locate your printer in an office environment.Factors such as the location of your printer can have a huge impact on productivity.

Printer setup mistake 1: Centralisation

If you watch old office-based dramas, the centralised printer and copier is a recurring theme.  

However, if you took a tour around many modern workspaces, you’d likely find this arrangement to be a thing of the past. But why?

As more and more businesses move to agile methodologies, where teams work in self-managing scrums or pods, it makes sense to rethink your printer positioning accordingly. For example, the personnel in charge of invoices and record-keeping are going to need printer access much more frequently than your digital marketers.

In the hustle and bustle of the daily routine, convenience reigns supreme, and your printers are no exception.

Printers have moved to be close to the teams that need them most, and aren't so frequently centralised. In agile-based offices, you’ll tend to see printers sitting with the teams that need them most.

Printer setup mistake 2: Not being wireless

If your printers aren’t Wi-Fi enabled, you’ll be hindering your staff from participating in a common modern workforce practice: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

According to CITO, 53% of employees believe that bringing their own device to work, instead of using company supplied laptops or computers, makes them more productive. However, BYOD becomes a lot less convenient if staff have to carry their laptop over to the printer and connect via USB every time they want a hard copy of a document.

53% of employees believe that bringing their own device to work makes them more productive.

Wireless-enabled printers eliminate this issue, allowing staff to connect from their desks, using whichever device they find best suits their work practices.

Printer setup mistake 3: Not being cloud enabled

Speaking in Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, Dave Nevogt, CEO of Hubstaff, says, “Businesses are continuing to embrace at least some form of remote work, likely because they’ve experienced the benefits of greater productivity”.

However, in order for remote work to provide these benefits, and not become disruptive, you need to have proper processes, systems and technology in place. While the obvious ones revolve around communications and setting up e-meetings, printers play a crucial role too. Cloud-enabled printers allow your now virtual teams to continue to function as if they were all still seated at the same desk. 

It means that no matter where your remote staff are, they can send documents to be printed in the office, and used by their colleagues in that environment.

Small businesses should look for WiFI and cloud-enabled printers.Cloud-enabled printing is vital to modern employment practices such as remote and activity-based working.

Printer setup mistake 4: Being too complex

According to ImageOne, nearly 25% of all IT helpdesk calls refer to printer-related issues. This has a dual negative impact on productivity in which both your IT staff and the employees trying to print are tied up with the same issue.

So, how can you make your printers more user friendly?

Nearly 25% of all IT helpdesk calls refer to printer related issues, making these devices a huge time suck.

The most important factor to consider here is whether your printer has a touch screen interface. This makes the device familiar to your employees, who interact with touch screen devices multiple times a day, every day. On top of this, instead of having to guess their way through old-fashioned buttons, touch screen interfaces allow for a logical approach where staff can work through problems rather than having to phone in the helpdesk. Also, when it comes to touch screens, bigger is almost always better in terms of usability.

As artificial intelligence (AI) starts to take a greater role in the modern business, it’s also likely that chat bots will be deployed more frequently to provide FAQ style services to employees struggling to work with their office printer. While this isn’t on the market yet, it’s one to look out for in the future!

With these core messages in mind, you should be perfectly placed to build a printer setup that will help, rather than hinder your bid to increase productivity in your business. For more information on the tips discussed, or for product-specific advice on printers that can help you achieve your goals, get in touch with the Brother team today.

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