During summer, when the UK’s lockdown rules were relaxed a little, the UK government introduced a scheme they called “Eat Out to Help Out”. At participating restaurants, you could a get government-funded 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic beverages of up to £10 between Mondays and Wednesdays, as long as you didn’t take away and your area wasn’t subject to local lockdown.
Though this scheme did help a lot of businesses to stay afloat, especially the local and independent ones we all love, it was suggested to have played a role in causing one sixth of this summer’s new coronavirus cases. Therefore, what other government-funded schemes could be implemented in order to help the economy while causing minimal risk to public health?
Why “Print Out to Help Out”?
It may seem a little trivial or insignificant, but printing is one of the most important parts of business. It’s a hidden hero, with most employees and business owners using their printing devices multiple times a day. Whether you are working from home, from an office, at a retail store or at a restaurant, you will be using printing resources more than you might have realised.
These days, universities and libraries often make you pay to use public printers. Though we might now be able to print straight from our smartphones, it could cost us maybe 4-10 pence per A4 page. This doesn’t seem a lot until you realise that printing those ten contracts to review might have cost you more than your hourly wage.
How could “Print Out to Help Out”, well, help out?
With government guidance towards COVID-19 changing constantly, a lot of businesses may have seen their printing levels significantly increase. Restaurants now need to display their NHS Track and Trace QR codes, while shops may display signs reminding us to wear our masks.
Local independent cafes working on adapted opening hours may be constantly changing their menus depending on what produce they have managed to get that day. These limited menus may need to be printed multiple times so that they can be disposed of once they’ve been touched. It all adds up.
What the government could do is subsidise print services in the same way it did food. If this were to be implemented, it could decrease the cost of binding, shredding, folding, laminating, booklet making, cutting, duplicating, coating and packaging services – adding to savings many companies could already be making on these services by using tech from a company like Duplo International. Hence, the potential impact on businesses trying to save money could be enormous.
When using printing infrastructure, there is the cost of purchase, cost per page, cost of maintenance and the energy usage it requires. For such an everyday need, it has many costs that you might not even think about.
A “Print Out to Help Out” scheme, where the government subsidises the cost of print solutions, could help thousands of business owners. It would help businesses to cut costs without affecting the quality of their services and without risk to their employees and consumers. Such a simple and overlooked thing could be the difference between businesses getting through the pandemic or not.