Press "Enter" to skip to content

SMBs are better at supporting hybrid workers

Quocirca’s latest home printing trends and opportunities study finds that a two-speed transition to hybrid working sees agile SMBs outpace large enterprises 

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 Research Director Louella Fernandes said: “The 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.” 

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

Key findings include: 

  • *Home-based workers report increased productivity. 58 per cent of respondents say productivity has increased since working from home. The effect is greater in small and mid- sized businesses, where 66 per cent and 61 per cent report increased productivity, respectively. 
  • In comparison, only 47 per cent of respondents from enterprises with more than 1,000 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 per cent of respondents say the printer they use at home is not a device recommended or approved by their employer; this figure rises to 74 per cent in large enterprises. Only 21 per cent of respondents say they are very concerned about home printing security, dropping to just 10 per cent 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 per cent of small businesses provided employees with a printer to support home working, compared to just 4 per cent of large companies. Across every security measure surveyed, small and mid-sized companies were more likely to 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 per cent of respondents from large enterprises said there were no document security measures in place at all, compared to 10 per cent of small and 11 per cent of mid-sized company respondents. 
  • *Home print volumes are rising. 63 per cent 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 per cent say they need to print documents for signature or archive, while 43 per cent print because they prefer paper documents.
  • *Growing interest in ink subscription services.
    40 per cent of respondents have an automated ink/toner delivery service in place and a further 43 per cent who don’t currently have one would be interested in getting one. 52 per cent of respondents from small organisations have a subscription in place, compared to only 27 per cent among larger companies. 
  • Large organisations should act urgently to better control and automate supplies provision for their workforce. 
  • “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,” Louella said. “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.” 

She continued: “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.”