Apple spent $5 billion on its spaceship campus in Cupertino, but it sat mostly empty in 2020 while employees worked from home.
Business forecasters say remote work is here to stay, and the consequences of this realignment are shaking things up.
According to a survey of 1,000 CEOs by FirstbaseHQ, companies are planning a 40 percent to 60 percent cut in office space, with about 30 percent going entirely remote.
The impact of this realignment from commercial office space to home-based work has wide-ranging consequences—not just for employees, but for the makeup of cities, companies and neighborhoods everywhere.
The math is simple. It costs companies about $20,000 per employee per year to have them work in office space, while remote work costs about $2,000 per employee.
So what are the implications of remote work on printing companies?
Aside from internal changes in operations, this new way of working highlights important economic questions to be asked about the manufacturing side of the business.
For example, let’s say a company produces a few catalogs every year in-house. Singled out, these jobs might appear to be very profitable.
But what is it costing them per year to maintain the capability to produce those catalogs?
These costs could be in the form of extra staff, equipment, floor space and inventory required to produce those jobs. Even the best of print operations can’t operate below break-even for too long.
On the other hand, what would it cost to outsource those catalog jobs as they reduce staff, equipment, floor space and inventory?
Our clients are often surprised and relieved at their growth in profitability when they answer these tough questions and make relevant changes to their operation.
Prior to the pandemic, printers were already positioning themselves take advantage of remote workflows. The 2018 Print Census by Keypoint Intelligence & FESPA found that over the preceding two years:
- 48% invested in staff training on new development tools including cloud services and design tools
- 28% invested in interactive customer collaboration tools
- 28% invested in ecommerce portals
In my experience this past year, forward-thinking printers are also applying these new ways of thinking to their manufacturing operations.
They’re asking the hard questions about equipment, staffing, space and inventory, about whether their break-even expectations are realistic.
They’re turning to partnerships with trade-only printing companies to stay in business and grow their profits, without the unnecessary burdens and costs of keeping all their production in-house.