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Printers: The Office’s Hidden Hero

There are countless essential components to any working office. From the employees, to office equipment, to the building itself, each part of an office is important. Although one item that is often undervalued, especially in a modern context, is the printer. While remote work and digital platforms are growing in scale, printers are still very widespread.

For example, eight out of ten small businesses use a printer daily. For those looking to stake out a name for themselves and grow a business, printers are key. It’s the only way most small businesses can realistically operate. This reliance raises a risk though, a risk that is hard to avoid.

Printers breakdown and printers malfunction. Without a printer an entire day's worth of operations can be halted. It may lead to emergency purchases or decisions that aren’t very beneficial in the long run. Most small businesses have this be a larger issue than is needed. Buying smaller and less efficient printers, overworking them, and buying another when it breaks.

It’s also important to note that printers are more important for some than for others. Law is the easiest profession to think of that needs a lot of printing. And it’s true, at 240 pages a day law offices cannot operate without a printer. Some other industries have similarly high numbers, auto business and healthcare are fairly close. Although even on the lower end, finance, for example, produces 20 pages a day, and printing is still essential.

In total 50% of businesses say they need a printer to operate. This comes with its benefits and its downsides. For example, businesses using print over digital tend to have more data retained. The printed word has much higher retention, most readers learning better from print than a screen. Although at the same time a printer can be more expensive than keeping things digital.

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All in all, 53% of people own printers that break monthly. Most printers are simply not going to last years at a time, and that’s without extra costs. Toner cartridges are another major expense that is required regardless of the quality of the printer. Printers have also become a major outlet for cyber attacks on small businesses.

More than most other internet-connected devices, printers are commonly left unsecured. Most business owners simply don’t have a proper grasp on all the modern applications and aspects of a printer. Another example of this is in the debate of ink versus laser printing. Black ink alone is more expensive than nail polish or even insulin, and 20-50% of ink is used for cleaning alone. Laser toner on the other hand tends to be a bit cheaper and more consistent.

Laser printing is preferable, but laser printers are expensive. This is all starting to create a common theme. Investing in a high quality, long lasting, laser printer is preferable to rebuying cheap ones. Especially in a business context, the long term investment is far preferable to the short term money saved.

Other key considerations are adding a password to any digital printer. Access to the internet and the cloud is highly useful, but also potentially dangerous without a password. Using two sided printing is another modern popular change, saving paper and ink alike. And finally ensuring that ink cartridges are reused is a big money and time saver.

There’s countless small things to consider when it comes to a printer, for businesses and personal use alike. These options, if anything, highlight how important printers are. Invest in a high quality printer, keep it secure, and keep it ecologically and economically efficient. Through these steps the printer can remain an office's hidden hero.

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