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Print and the office of the future

Quocirca Future of Work Study tracks rise of the employee-centric hybrid workplace

The post-pandemic transformation of offices is proceeding at pace, with the role and requirements of the modern workplace undergoing fundamental changes caused by hybrid working and the ‘great resignation’, reveals market insight and research firm Quocirca in The Future of Work, 2025.

Based on a study of 1,021 office workers and 521 IT decision-makers in SMBs and large enterprises in the UK, France, Germany and the US, the third edition of Quocirca’s Global Print 2025 report highlights the emergence of a hybrid workplace catering to the needs of employees.

Below, we publish some key findings with commentary from Quocirca Director Louella Fernandes.

People: a workforce in flux

  • 42% of respondents intend to leave their jobs in the next 12 months, with mental health concerns and a lack of appreciation by employers cited as key drivers.
  • 69% believe flexible working will change perceptions of what makes a good company culture.
  • 67% of businesses expect to lose talent if they don’t offer flexible work options.
  • 36% of workforces already work remotely and 44% will do so by 2025.

Fernandes comments: “The ‘Great Resignation’ is still strongly in evidence and businesses are acutely aware that they must address employee wellbeing. Offering a flexible, hybrid work environment with a rich variety of enabling technology can help retain talent by putting the employee – rather than the building – at the centre
of the corporate experience. Additionally, employers must be mindful of the impact of the energy crisis. This may prompt more employees to consider returning to the office to reduce home energy consumption, but businesses will also be aiming for efficiency in their office footprint to minimise energy costs and emissions.”

(Further discussion of the effects of the energy crisis on employee work preferences and employer strategies can be found here: content/will-the-energy-crisis-lure-remote- workers-back-to-the-office/)

Place: a new purpose for the office

  • 56% believe the physical workspace will be used only as an occasional meeting point, primarily for the purposes of in- person collaboration.
  • 40% expect to see an increase in retained office space vs. 35% who anticipate a reduction.

Fernandes comments: “There is a clear change in how employees perceive the role and purpose of offices. The focus is on occasional in-person collaboration rather than daily work. We also found growing anticipation of metaverse-enabling office technology, with 61% expecting workers to mainly communicate through video and augmented or virtual reality by 2025.”

Print: print-digital convergence accelerates

  • Decision-makers and office workers have different views on the future of print, with 72% of ITDMs saying print will be important by 2025, compared to only 50% of office workers.
  • 32% say that digitisation of paper- based processes will be extremely important to digital transformation initiatives, rising from 15% today.
  • 20% of print environments will be fully cloud-based by 2025, compared to just 4% today.

Fernandes comments: “Print volumes are unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic levels. The digitisation of paper-based processes was catalysed during the crisis and this drive is set to continue. We will see print provision becoming more flexible and cloud-based, with print being reserved for high value documents and customer- facing communications, rather than day-to- day use. This also aligns with companies’ drive towards the less-paper office.”

Planet: sustainability continues to drive action

  • 67% say sustainability will be a highly important credential for businesses by 2025.
  • Print policies, cloud print management solutions and managed print services are all being used to address sustainability, with digital leaders having many more print-related tools in place to meet sustainability goals than digital laggards*.

Fernandes comments: “Sustainability has a strong influence on business decision-making. Therefore, suppliers must ensure they are communicating environmental benefits alongside efficiency and financial benefits. The print industry seems to have some catching up to do, as we found organisations that are sustainability leaders** are least likely to say their deepest relationship will be with a print manufacturer by 2025.”

Providers: print manufacturers are losing influence to IT services providers

  • Only 16% of respondents expect their deepest relationship to be with print manufacturers by 2025, a fall from 18% today and 26% in our 2019 study.
  • 26% expect their strongest relationship to be with IT services providers in 2025.

Fernandes comments: “Print manufacturers must prioritise diversifying their offerings to incorporate in-demand services such as security and cloud print capabilities if they are to deepen their customer relationships. We are already seeing manufacturers innovating around security, cloud and sustainability, exploring the IT services space for themselves. We expect to see more of this as the sector strives to retain relevance with customers.

“Nevertheless, the pace of evolution will need to increase to keep up with demand for diverse, flexible office provision that puts employees at the centre, as customers seek to retain and support a fragile workforce.”

Quocirca’s The Future of Work, 2025 report is available to subscribers and to buy here: reports/quocirca-future-of-work-2025/.

A complimentary executive summary is available at the same link.

* For the purpose of the report, Quocirca categorises organ- isations as Digital Leaders (44%), Digital Followers (39%) and Digital Laggards (15%) based on the importance they attach to the digitisa- tion of paper-based processes.

** Sustainability leaders are those who currently consider sustainability to be extremely important.

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