Illustration of a woman in a home office environment looking puzzled as her printer displays a maintenance alert

How to reduce downtime on remote devices

Hybrid working can bring substantial benefits to businesses when it comes to productivity and efficiency. But to enable workforces to be at their best, the technology needs to work – whether laptops, printers, monitors or routers.

If any of these devices aren’t properly installed or if they develop faults, they can impede work and reduce employee activity. Clearly, device downtime can have a big impact. But looking at employees themselves, it’s also important they remain productive when working alone at home.

Here we look at what businesses can do to ensure productivity in hybrid working structures, focusing on tackling device downtime and empowering employees.

What is device downtime?

Device downtime is a period where a device remains inactive or is not available for use when it’s needed. It can be caused by improper configuration and installation, technical faults, missing parts, resource outages (like no ink or paper for printers), lack of storage capacity, software problems, network issues, lost or mismatched user credentials and passwords, and user error.

How can device downtime directly affect businesses?

Remote devices that can’t be accessed and used when needed can:

  • Reduce productivity as employees can’t complete tasks when needed.
  • Lead to lost production, sales and revenue as employees can’t work effectively.
  • Reduce the returns on expensive devices as these assets are underutilised.
  • Incur additional costs as time and resources are devoted to returning remote devices to full functionality.
  • Reduce employee satisfaction as remote employees struggle to complete work, miss deadlines, and grow frustrated and disengaged.

Three tips to reduce technical device downtime

Whilst managing devices remotely can introduce new challenges, effective solutions to these challenges exist. They include:

1. Hardware updates

Remote devices should be updated regularly with new patches and software to ensure they remain secure and in working order. Many devices can be updated remotely from central locations, using remote software management tools.

2. Brother's Printer Device Manager

With our free BRAdmin Professional 4 software, you can manage the status and performance of a fleet of printers, including both central and remote printers. BRAdmin Professional 4 allows you to track use and resources from a central interface, helping you identify and address potential printer downtime before it happens.

3. Brother's Remote Panel

Our Remote Panel upgrade allows compatible Brother devices in remote locations to be accessed for real-time troubleshooting. Faults and errors can be addressed remotely by IT managers in central offices, preventing remote device downtime.

Five tips to help employees stay efficient while working from home

Device downtime isn’t the only factor that can impact how productive a business is when adopting hybrid working structures. Employees themselves can also take proactive steps to make sure they remain productive and efficient when working at home. Businesses should encourage and enable employees to do the following:

1. Communicate properly

When working remotely, it can be all too easy to neglect communication. But remote workers need to ensure they stay in touch with colleagues to remain abreast of updates, to ensure they’re effectively engaged and to make sure they stay motivated. It’s key for business leaders to also communicate effectively with employees about any potential software updates and what employees need to do to ensure any devices are working effectively.

2. Time and task management

Effectively managing tasks and time can ensure remote employees stay focussed, make efficient use of their time, and deliver work when required. Project management tools are essential to track deliverables, whilst managers should regularly check in with employees to understand the progress of tasks and provide any help where needed. One particular advantage of hybrid working is that it allows time in the office to be used for face to face and time at home for meeting deadlines.

3. Taking holiday

Taking time away from work can give a mental break and help employees recharge, meaning they return to work feeling energised and motivated. Employees should be encouraged to use all of their holiday allowance, as tired and burnt out team members will be unproductive and inefficient.

4. Turn personal devices off

One of the greatest risks of remote working is the temptation to give in to distractions, particularly personal devices like phones and tablets. Encouraging employees to create dedicated workspaces free from personal devices as well turning devices off, can help make sure they avoid such distractions. It will keep productivity and efficiency levels high.

5. Device timers

To aid with the above and reduce the temptation of distraction, employees can also download device timers to phones, tablets, and computers that allow apps to be locked and only used for specific amounts of time.

Device downtime can impact employee and business performance, particularly when employees are working remotely, and devices are located off-site. However, a range of tools are available to IT managers to reduce downtime and to manage remote devices. Coupled with policies to keep your employees productive, businesses can remain efficient whilst adopting new hybrid working structures.

Find out more about how Brother can help your organisation manage hybrid working with our range of hybrid working solutions.


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