How a smarter printer can reinvent even the one-person office

Sponsored by HP, written by Chris Smith

As a self-employed writer, my time is precious. Hanging out by the printer chit-chatting might have become an art form at my last office gig, but these days, any time that’s wasted (social media loafing doesn’t count as time-wasting, right?) comes out of my own pocket. It also means a longer day scrambling to meet deadlines on a Friday afternoon when I should be, you know, in the pub.

When you’re on a limited budget, you tend to make the odd sacrifice where you can. Inherently, you try to do more with less. For me, one of those sacrifices has been a printer.

In all honesty, it wasn’t a concession I was particularly upset about making. Throughout my career, I’ve come to regard printers as clutter. Frustrating productivity killers that drain money and time long after you’ve taken them out of the box.

If I wasn’t sorting out jams, or standing around waiting for them to spew out the first page – each word like a tortoise shuffling across the street during rush hour – I was faffing around replacing the cartridges I’d paid through the nose for a month ago.

Personally, it was worth the trip to a print centre to print or scan physical contracts, travel documents, tax returns, photos, event tickets and the like.

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My attitude has started to change since the arrival of the HP PageWide Pro MFP 477dw. With this all-in-one solution, that can also scan and fax, I realised there’d been something missing from my modest set-up of laptop and speakers, something that could actually save me time and help to increase my productivity.

The original HP cartridges, which print 4x as many pages as standardised options, are shoved in and forgotten about, with none of those “low-ink” notifications badgering my desktop every other week.

Thanks to the ease of changing the cartridges, I’ll definitely spend less time and money on anger management counselling too.

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Speaking of speed, I don’t print textbooks worth of documents, but I love I can hit Print on my laptop, swivel around in my office chair and have first page of a draft article waiting for me in the tray.

Also, as a technology writer, I’m always switching between testing Android and iOS phones. The HP PageWide Pro MFP 477dw is compatible with both platforms.

It’s great to be able to read a brief from a commissioning editor on the phone or tablet and send it to the printer for closer examination during work hours. It also keeps me out of my office during the evenings, an important part of making any working-from-home set-up feasible.

The printer is also compatible with Google Cloud Print (following registration via the Google Chrome browser), which means the printer in my office is accessible from anywhere in the world, in the apps I use on a day-to-day basis.

Again, this is all about saving time. It’s about my tech working around me, rather than the other way around. In this respect it feels like printers have finally caught up with the other smart gadgetry maximising productivity in the post-PC era.

This article was sponsored by HP. For more information on HP’s printers, please visit this page.