Tips to support home office workers during COVID-19


COVID-19 social distancing rules have meant that many workers who would normally be in the office are now working from home. Essential workers are still attending offices and other workplaces. And, some offices have assigned shifts so that workers can go into the office while still maintaining social distancing. Regardless of the model adopted, businesses need to maintain productivity and efficiencies, and support employees who are working from home.

Letting home office workers print and scan effectively can be an important part of maintaining productivity. However, without the right systems in place, this can be difficult, according to Y Soft.


Adam O’Neill, managing director – Australia and New Zealand, Y Soft, said, “COVID-19 has created an unfamiliar working environment for many but this is likely to become the new normal.”


A survey by Gartner revealed that 74 per cent of CFOs plan to shift five per cent of previously in-office workers to permanent remote positions after COVID-19. And, nearly 20 per cent of CFOs will move at least one-fifth of the workforce to permanent remote positions.  


Adam O’Neill said, “With this in mind, it’s important for organisations to understand how they can help remote workers manage print-related tasks effectively. With the right software in place, organisations can do this fairly seamlessly.”


Y Soft has identified eight ways businesses can support home office workers with print-related tasks:

1. Assign time in the office
Where workers need to print documents to an office-based device, organisations can consider assigning time in the office to individuals. This would let them collect printing without breaching social distancing recommendations. Using print authentication, a home-based worker can submit their print jobs as normal. At their assigned time, they can visit the office and swipe their badge or enter their unique code to release all of their printing jobs at the same time.

To make this process even safer, organisations can place designated multifunction devices near the business’s entry so that workers don’t have to walk through the entire office to collect their printing.

2. Share print queues
With a shared print queue, one user can submit a job for printing and another can print it. This is ideal when some workers are at home and others are in the office. The office-based worker can print the document so that the home-based worker doesn’t have to go into the office. Anyone with access to the shared queue can print the document, making it convenient.

When it comes to accounting for these jobs, the person who submitted the job is charged for it, not the person who swipes their card to print it.

This can be done via administrator-controlled interfaces or, with extensions, through a web page that automatically creates a shared print queue.

3. Convert to PDF or email
When hard copies aren’t necessarily required, users can create a PDF rather than a printout, then save it and send it to someone. With a rules-based engine, users can stipulate that any document sent to print will be saved as a PDF for a certain timeframe. The PDF is stored in a predefined home folder and can be automatically emailed to a predefined address.

Users can also create an additional print queue, which is a ‘work-from-home queue’ where these rules are applied.

4. Self-assign cards
Where temporary workers will need access to printers, businesses can create timebound authentication cards. On arrival at the business, the worker is given an authentication card and they then self-register it at the MFD they’ll be using. This lets temporary or visiting workers print with full security but without requiring them to have a permanent authentication card.

The cards are handed back at the end of the day where they can be destroyed or sanitised for further use. This process eliminates the time it takes for IT teams to provision these workers to print on site.

5. Print to home printers
When workers are printing at home, the costs can mount up. Businesses may want to reimburse their employees for this cost, which may also be able to be passed on to customers. It’s therefore important to have a solution that allows this by rerouting corporate print jobs to the home printer while accounting for that job.

6. Automate scan workflows
With automated scan workflows, the user can easily scan to email, a shared folder, cloud-based repositories, or third parties just as they would in the office.

7. Provide mobile scanning
With mobile scanning, users can initiate a scan from their mobile phone, email, or web browser. They can select all the relevant settings and save the scan as they would if they were in the office.

8. Protect workers from touching surfaces
Usually, to release a print job, employees would swipe their badge or enter a code, then use the touchscreen interface on the MFD. A mobile app that lets users use their smartphones instead can prevent them from coming into contact with surfaces that may have been touched by many other users. They can use their phone to access all the functionality that’s available on their MFD. Businesses can put a QR code on their MFD, which users can then scan using their phone, which downloads the mobile interface.


Adam O’Neill said, “COVID-19 is causing concern among workers regarding their health and regarding their ability to be productive. By following these eight tips, businesses can help workers socially distance while remaining highly productive.”