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Choosing the best multifunction printers (MFPs) for your hybrid workplace

As your organisation adopts a new hybrid workplace strategy, you may find yourself tasked with equipping your employees with the right devices to work from any location. Multifunction printers (MFPs) are key to enabling remote collaboration and productivity, but how do you choose the right MFP for your workers when there are numerous brands and models in the market, with different features and capabilities available?

Purchasing MFPs for your hybrid workplace can be a significant investment, so take the time to seriously assess your options. In this post, we share some tips on how to choose the best MFPs to meet the specific needs and preferences of your business and hybrid work environment. But first, why are multifunction printers the recommended device for hybrid workplaces?

The best multifunction printer features

MFPs are popular for hybrid workplaces because they combine print, scan, fax and copy functions in one multi-tasking device, enabling remote employees to collaborate effectively with their colleagues. Additionally, their low purchase and running costs appeal to budget-conscious businesses. Compared to running multiple devices for each function, MFPs help organisations save on power bills and consumables, as well as office space, both at home or in a shared workplace.

Things to consider when choosing an MFP

It is important to choose an MFP that best fits your business needs – one that meets your requirements, integrates well with current systems, and saves you time and money in the long run. Here are a few areas to consider:

1. Business printing needs

These are some of the questions that can help you assess your business printing needs:

  • Does your company print colour or black and white documents?
  • How much printing does your company do?
  • What print quality do you require?
  • How many workspaces make up your hybrid work environment?
  • How many employees do you have and what are their connectivity requirements?

Once you have a clearer picture of your printing requirements, it will be easier for you to determine the number of MFPs and the functionalities that your business needs.

2. Total cost of ownership (TCO)

When considering a MFP, you must also look at the total cost of ownership. This not only includes the purchase price but also the long-term expenses associated with your printer, such as consumables, maintenance and repair costs. TCO is particularly important in a hybrid workplace where you will be operating more MFP devices than you would in a traditional office set-up, potentially driving up costs if you don’t choose cost-effective printers.

The Kyocera Total Cost of Ownership Guide can help calculate your devices’ total cost of ownership and show you how to significantly reduce ongoing costs during the life of your printers. It’s important to assess MFPs based on more than just the purchase price, as the lifetime printer costs can be two to three times the initial investment.

3. Environmental impact

Is the printer eco-friendly? Consider brands that support reducing your carbon footprint in the manufacturing, distribution, maintenance and disposal/recycling of your MFPs. As speed and quality of printing matter, so does energy efficiency, particularly for remote employees. An energy efficient device is good for the environment and, at the same time, reduces your overall printing costs.

KYOCERA’s printers, for instance, include the cartridge-free ECOSYS technology that is capable of printing up to 600,000 pages without the need to replace the print drum. This translates to a lower cost of consumables and a significant reduction in disposable waste.

4. Service and reliability

Does the manufacturer provide written service and support standards for its MFPs? Do their service standards include the cost of periodic maintenance and consumable usage/availability, software upgrades/compatibility? Depending on your business needs, Managed Print Services may work better for you to ensure a well maintained, cost-efficient (less breakdowns or software problems) and durable fleet of MFPs.

5. Ease of use and integration

In a hybrid work environment, with a decentralised workforce, a device’s ease of use is essential. Be sure to choose an MFP that is user friendly to reduce your workforce’s reliance on IT support.

Also, consider what your company needs in terms of printer connectivity such as USB, memory cards, Bluetooth, network integration, and AirPrint or any other software being used to print documents in your office. MFPs that can be set up and monitored remotely will make onboarding new workers and managing numerous devices significantly easier for your IT team.

In all these connectivity requirements, you must also make sure that you meet your company’s document security policies. Specialised MFPs for businesses should provide various printer security features, such as password protection, network authentication and data encryption, which a standard consumer printer doesn’t have.

6. Third-party assessments

Have you checked the reviews online? When making the decision to purchase an MFP, it’s a good idea to check user and third-party assessments such as Goodgearguide, CNET, Choice, and Product Review for unbiased reviews on printers you are looking to purchase.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing the right MFPs to equip employees in your hybrid work environment. We suggest starting with understanding your company’s printing habits, requirements and hybrid workspace set-up. Each business is unique, and by clearly identifying your organisation’s needs, it makes the search for the best multifunction printer a lot simpler.

Building a resilient and productive hybrid work environment requires the right hardware, software and processes. Download our Guide to Hybrid Workplace Strategy for a step-by-step strategy for implementing an effective hybrid work model that equips your employees to work anywhere, any time.

This article was originally published on 24 January 2018. It was modified on 28 September 2020.