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Two-speed Transition to Hybrid Working Sees Agile SMBs Outpace Large Enterprises

Quocirca Home Printing Study find SMBs are better at supporting hybrid workers than their larger counterparts 

Small and mid-sized businesses are adapting more successfully to hybrid working than larger businesses, according to the findings of the third edition of Quocirca’s Home Printing Trends and Opportunities Study. Across measures such as employee productivity, security, policies and support for home-based workers, small and mid-sized companies outperformed large enterprises and appear better prepared for long-term hybrid working.

Quocirca surveyed 417 employees from organisations in the UK and US*. The findings show that hybrid working is becoming the norm. 63% of survey respondents expect to continue mixing home-based and office working for the next 12 months, a rise from 52% in Quocirca’s December 2020 study. Only 20% expect to return to full-time office working and this figure drops to 10% among large businesses, where 26% expect to continue working completely from home.

Key findings include:

  • Home-based workers report increased productivity

58% of respondents say productivity has increased since working from home. The effect is greater in small and mid-sized businesses, where 66% and 61% report increased productivity, respectively. In comparison, only 47% of respondents from enterprises with more than 1000 employees said they were more productive working from home. This group is the most likely to stay working remotely full-time, pointing to potential long-term productivity issues.


  • Shadow printer purchasing is creating security vulnerabilities

54% of respondents say the printer they use at home is not a device recommended or approved by their employer; this figure rises to 74% in large enterprises. Only 21% of respondents say they are very concerned about home printing security, dropping to just 10% in larger organisations. This lack of security awareness points to a disconnect between corporate IT departments and employees, particularly in large businesses.


  • Small and mid-sized companies are more likely to be addressing home worker print requirements and security issues

14% of small businesses provided employees with a printer to support home working, compared to just 4% of large companies. Across every security measure surveyed, small and mid-sized companies were more likely have it in place. These include: security training; BYOD policies; restrictions on document use; tracking of print use in home/remote environments; guidelines on secure document disposal.

29% of respondents from large enterprises said there were no document security measures in place at all, compared to 10% of small and 11% of mid-sized company respondents.


  • Home print volumes are rising 

63% are printing more at home than they were a year ago, with respondents from small and mid-sized companies more likely to report significant printing increases compared to employees in large enterprises. 56% say they need to print documents for signature or archive, while 43% print because they prefer paper documents.


  • Growing interest in ink subscription services

40% of respondents have an automated ink/toner delivery service in place and a further 43% who don’t currently have one would be interested in getting one. 52% of respondents from small organisations have a subscription in place, compared to only 27% among larger companies.

Large organisations should act urgently to better control and automate supplies provision for their workforce.


Quocirca Research Director Louella Fernandes comments: “These findings point to a two-speed transition to hybrid working, where small and mid-sized companies are accelerating away from larger, less agile businesses. They are more proactive about addressing security issues and are providing more support for home workers, who in turn report higher productivity.


“Employees in larger companies feel less productive than their SMB counterparts, which is concerning because this group is the most likely to continue working from home. It may derive from the fact that bigger companies have larger teams who may need more support to collaborate effectively. They may also have more legacy processes making it harder to digitise as rapidly as smaller, more agile organisations. If large enterprises are to succeed with hybrid working, they must urgently address these issues to better support the remote workforce.


“There is a major opportunity for channel companies to offer tailored support to newly hybrid organisations to help them transition securely and cost-effectively. MPS providers should be developing services that incorporate home device and consumables provision, particularly for enterprise customers.”


Quocirca’s Home Printing Trends and Opportunities Report provides detailed analysis of the transition to hybrid working and key recommendations for buyers and suppliers. For more information and a complimentary executive summary, please visit .

*Methodology: Quocirca conducted a study of 417 UK and US home workers in October 2021, with the aim of exploring the impact the sudden, forced migration of workforces from offices to working from home has had on printing. The research targeted employees who were printing in the office before the pandemic and excluded those who didn’t print at all pre-pandemic. Of those surveyed, 59% printed regularly while in the office before the pandemic, with 41% printing occasionally. 32% of the respondents were from SMEs (250 to 499 employees), 34% from mid-size organisations (500 to 999 employees) and 33% from large enterprises (1,000+ employees).

About Quocirca:

Quocirca is a global market insight and research firm providing strategic market analysis and intelligence to print industry business and technology leaders. Quocirca specialises in analysing the convergence of print and digital technologies in the future workplace.

Since 2006, Quocirca has played an influential role in advising clients on major shifts in the market. Our consulting and research is at the forefront of the rapidly evolving print services and solutions market, trusted by clients who are seeking new strategies to address disruptive technologies.

Trusted by global industry organisations, Quocirca offers a wealth of specialist knowledge across the connected print ecosystem. Our extensive research activities are backed up with rigorous analysis and a robust primary research programme.

Image Courtesy of Brother UK

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