In early 2020 when COVID-19 caused many offices around the world to transition to working from home, there was the hope that it wouldn’t be for too long. Days became weeks, weeks became months, all filled with more cat and dog conference cameos then you can count. The reality is we’ve entered a new era of daily life.
One of the longest-term impacts is expected to be the changes to office life. In May, Twitter announced all employees will have the option to work from home indefinitely. The tech industry, in general, was well set-up for this transition. Remote working has undoubtedly proven that not being in the office doesn’t necessarily impact productivity, in fact, the opposite has been found.
There are many businesses embracing flexibility for their people by normalizing working from home. But remote working doesn’t mean your options are either work at home or the office. Both in the face of this pandemic and in the future, a hybrid division of home and office working will become the new normal.
PaperCut entered a distributed working model back in March. Developing print management software remotely has meant overcoming some challenges. We’ve also supported our customers over the world who have had to find inventive solutions for the various obstacles of working from home. Many workplaces have had to adopt COVID-safe and sustainable work practices. With all that in mind, we thought we’d tap into our nearly year-long experience for 4 ways to print flexibly for hybrid working.
1. Seating and printer layout
We’ll start with the most obvious. For the time being, to be COVID-safe, your old office layout will most likely need to be rearranged to meet social distancing standards. Start with pushing those desks a little further apart, then take a look at the highest traffic areas and if any spatial adjustments are required.
Printers (MFPs/MFDs) are some of the most highly used shared devices in the workplace, so you’ll need to design exactly where they are and who has access. The more printers in your office, the more blueprints and flat plans you’ll have to draw up. Once you’ve done so, you’ll then want to ensure there are plenty of hygiene stations, which what do you know, we spoke about in another blog. (Shameless plugging is okay if you’re meta about it, right?)
2. BYOD printing anywhere, anytime
With team members coming to and from the office, they’re going to need the flexibility to hit print at home and collect their documents from the workplace.
For simple print enablement, our free tool Mobility Print and its Cloud Print feature open up BYOD printing for flexibility between your home and office workspaces. Many team members will have multiple devices and various scenarios for printing. You don’t want any unnecessary obstacles when it comes to printing anywhere with any device.
Oh but we’ve already got Google Cloud Print for that, you might say? Don’t forget, that deprecates at the end of 2020! The good news is Mobility Print is a like-for-like alternative for Google Cloud Print. The Cloud Print feature is currently available on Chromebooks and Windows, with Apple coming soon.
3. Setting up and managing print queues remotely
Sysadmins understand the pains of enabling printing for users. In the flexible workplace, you and your users will want to update and push print queues remotely without having to travel all the way to the office, or to your users’ home. Print Deploy automatically gets the right print driver and right print queue to the right person in the right location, every single time.
Maybe you don’t have just one office location and you have team members alternating between multiple worksites? Perhaps you’ve got staff moving between the home office and office office regularly (editor’s note - don’t let developers write wordy words for your blog post) and they’re finding that they’ve mysteriously lost their printers for work? (Narrator: Yes, staff deleted them.)
Print Deploy can ensure that when your staff comes back to your socially-distanced-yes-the-coffee-machine-is-machina-non-grata office that they have the right printer.
The Print Deploy Client will connect back to the Print Deploy server, check what printers are available for the user, and get them installed in the background post-haste. Maybe you’ve installed new copiers and want to make them optionally available? You can do that with the Self Service module.
4. Offsite print tracking
This is another one for all the sysadmins. We know all that talk of BYOD printing anywhere and any device may be a bit triggering. Don’t worry, we’ve got you. We know you’re doing mighty work during this pandemic. With all those staff members coming and going between the office and home, and you being one of them, you’re gonna want to be able to manage and track your printing wherever you are.
With PaperCut, our Direct Print Monitor has got you covered. More specifically, there are three ways for you to track printing offsite: printing to a shared printer without a VPN connection; printing to a shared sprinter via a VPN connection; and printing to a home printer. We broke down the particulars on all these methods in a cute little blog and in far greater detail in our Knowledge Base.
More than tips
Hybrid and flexible working is about more than tips, it’s about embracing a flexible mindset. For that to occur everyone needs to be on the same page with a solution-based approach to the interesting (and occasionally annoying) obstacles present in the new normal ways of working.
If you have any questions about how to work flexibly hit us up in the comments.
For more better ways to reduce costs, print flexibly, and work touch-free, visit our “Better Ways to Print” hub.
BETTER WAYS HUB