Many companies have been forced to close their offices and have their employees work from home in response to the spread of COVID-19. Even as things are beginning to open up again, many are still working from home and some may continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The situation is the same with government agencies, but with additional ramifications. Government requires Federal employees working from home to have computer printers – and not all do.
Increasing Numbers of Federal Employees are Working from Home
The coronavirus crisis has affected U.S. government agencies much the same as private-sector companies. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidance to Federal agencies encouraging them to “maximize telework flexibilities,” especially for older employees and those with chronic health conditions. The American Federation of Government Employees union has encouraged the Office of Personnel Management to allow all Federal employees to work from home. The HEROES Act currently in Congress, if passed, would mandate teleworking for all eligible Federal workers.
As a result, the Department of Defense is moving to cut its on-site workforce in half. The Treasury Department is encouraging its employees to test their teleworking capability. The Department of Homeland Security headquarters has increased the number of work-from-home employees. The Social Security Administration and Environmental Protection Agency have both allowed employees in New York City, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area to work from home.
GSA Designates Printers as Essential Office Equipment
For teleworkers to properly perform their job functions, the Government Services Agency (GSA) stresses that all home-based workers and contractors must have functional home offices that include everything they had in their government offices – including computers, printers, and corresponding supplies. To that end, the GSA has designated computer printers as essential office equipment for all Federal employees and government contractors who are working from home.
Jeffrey A. Koses, Senior Procurement Executive for the Office of Acquisition Policy, reinforced this mandate. In Acquisition Letter MV-20-05, written on March 19, 2020, Koses details the official GSA Emergency Response Product List to Support Telework. Specifically included on this list are “All in One Printers.” The document states that at-home workers need these printers “to support sharply increasing levels of telework.”
Government Teleworkers Need Affordable Printers
While many Federal workers have their own computers or can take home their work laptops, fewer have printers at home. While multifunction printers are a necessity in most offices, printers have always been an optional accessory for home computer users. Only about half of homes today have printers, and fewer than that have multifunction or all-in-one models.
This adds up to a significant and immediate need for affordable printers for Federal employees newly working from home. Government workers need not just to print important documents, but also to scan, copy, and sometimes fax those documents – hence the need for an all-in-one device. Any Federal employee forced to work from home who doesn’t have a multifunction printer is now in the market for one.
What Federal Teleworkers Need in a Printer
Teleworking Federal employees need specific features and functionality in a home printer. Here are six key features they should look for when shopping for a new printer:
- All-in-one functionality. The GSA mandates all-in-one printers for all teleworkers. An all-in-one printer, also known as a multifunction printer, typically offers printing, copying, scanning, and faxing capabilities.
- Inkjet vs. laser. Inkjet printers are great for personal use but if a person prints a large volume of documents, they’ll need to frequently replace ink cartridges. A laser printer, while more expensive initially, will typically last longer before needing to replace toner cartridges.
- Paper capacity. If a home printer gets a lot of use for work purposes, users are likely to go through a lot of paper! To keep from constantly reloading the printer, users should look for a model with a large-capacity paper tray.
- Wi-Fi connectivity. Running a cable from a printer to a computer may not always be practical, especially if the computer is a laptop model located in a different room. Workers should consider a printer that connects wirelessly over their home Wi-Fi network, which provides more flexibility in placement.
- For most home workers, space is at a premium. Often their home offices are just part of another shared space. For that reason, they should look for a model that takes up a minimum amount of desk space.
- Value. Government budgets are not limitless. Federal workers may need to look for affordable printers within a defined price range to meet department requirements.
Turn to CDS for Your All-in-One Printer Needs
If you’re a Federal employee newly working from home, or responsible for purchasing products for Federal teleworkers, CDS Office Technologies can help find the right printer for your home office needs. We carry a wide assortment of all-in-one printers from HP, Lexmark, Sharp, and other quality manufacturers – and our rapid shipment ensures you have the right equipment for your mission-critical government needs.
Contact CDS Office Technologies today for more information about multifunction printers for teleworkers!