The last two years have tested every aspect of the way we work, and have brought a new appreciation for flexibility, in or out of the office. Employees are looking for work solutions that give them all the benefits of the office with the flexibility of a hybrid schedule.

A new HP survey polled 1,000 office workers in the US and Canada to find out what they appreciate (and miss) most about the office. While many companies are luring employees back with on site massages and happy hours, it turns out what they really miss is printing.

In fact, more than half of respondents (57%) miss access to a printer more than happy hour with colleagues, followed by access to a scanner (56%) and free lunch on-site (55%). It’s a clear indication that while hybrid work offers greater flexibility, employees miss access to office technology that can make them more productive and efficient.

This trend will be a key consideration for companies as they reconfigure the role of the office, from employee experience to the physical layout. The interest in access to office technology will be an important factor for IT departments as they re-evaluate office needs and plan for the next phase of hybrid work.


HP Printer Survey


IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) Are the New Office Superheroes

Juggling flexible work needs and quickly scaling hybrid solutions have cemented IT departments as the new office superheroes, with more than half of office worker respondents (57% US, 67% Canada) agreeing that flexible work would not be possible without the IT department.

The title is rightly earned – the new HP survey also asked 200 IT decision makers (ITDMs) in the US and Canada to measure how the roles of enterprise ITDMs have changed during the shift towards flexible work. The survey found that about half of ITDMs (49% US, 52% CA) feel that flex work has dramatically increased their responsibilities.

In addition to expanded responsibilities, a majority of enterprise ITDMs reported that their roles are constantly evolving with the demands of a flexible workforce (66% US, 75% CA), and had to quickly learn new skills and technologies in the past few years. The extra work has not gone unnoticed and shows how vital the IT department is in making hybrid work a reality.

The top skills that ITDMs have had to learn include developing cybersecurity solutions (62%), cross-team collaboration skills (57%), and developing new, customizable solutions to meet novel employee needs (51%). This blend of hard and soft skills shows the direct impact of the transition to hybrid work. Cybersecurity will continue to be a top concern as organizations digitally transform and expand hybrid work solutions, and IT teams will be on call to not only address real-time security challenges, but to future-proof against potential threats.


Enterprise ITDM Role Expansion Statements

New Concerns for Printer Security

Although a majority of ITDMs feel that their company’s technology works seamlessly in a flexible environment, privacy and security concerns are increasing. The survey found that 67% of ITDMs feel privacy and security in a flex work environment has become more complex, especially when it comes to printer security.

Most ITDMs cited printers’ Internet connections and less oversight over remote employees as the biggest sources of vulnerability, and 57% believe print privacy and security is more at risk now than ever before. The concerns are twofold – potential hardware and software vulnerabilities that can be exploited in a targeted attack, and general lack of security hygiene by workers (does this sentence feel redundant to the one prior?).

One US-based ITDM noted remote employees’ tendencyto dismiss or try to circumvent security measures [IT teams] put in place. If some security measures are intentionally ignored, there is greater risk for attack. A Canadian ITDM shared that they were “primarily concerned by how modern printers are accessible from remote locations and have memory capacities that often hold sensitive data” – giving malicious attackers a way into corporate networks and private information.

Hybrid work policies are evolving daily, with companies strategizing how to best enable their workforces and maintain security in a hybrid environment. ITDMs have stepped up as the office superheroes, and they will continue to have elevated roles in designing flexible work solutions for the office of the future.


About the Survey

This poll was conducted between March 19th and 23rd, 2022 among a total sample of 200 enterprise IT decision makers (100 in US/100 in Canada) and 1,000 office workers (500 in US/500 in Canada). The interviews were conducted online, and the data was unweighted. Morning Consult works with panel providers recruit people through a variety of methods including loyalty programs, in-app promos and more, to build a pool of respondents willing to take surveys in exchange for rewards, such as gift cards.  Results for ITDMs have a margin of error of plus or minus 7 percentage points, while results for office workers have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.