Ink-Onomics 101 | Curbing Personal Printing and the Associated Costs

In a perfect world, software, hardware and supplies designed and provided for work purposes are used for just that — work.  But we all know that we don’t always live in a “perfect world.”

Employees using their internet access for some minimal, harmless personal usage doesn’t necessarily equate to a significant dent in productivity, but in the real world, many employees go well over a reasonable 15-20 minutes of personal usage.  With the current landscape of the internet overseeing everything from communication and decision-making to the social scene, people constantly engage in social media, check their email(s) and/or shop online — and depending on the employer, engaging in these activities during work hours is often tolerated.

When No One’s Watching..

But other usage of resources meant for work isn’t typically tolerated with the same levels of leniency, especially when these activities cost employers money in addition to lost productivity.  Copying and/or printing personal documents certainly fits in this category.  Most people have dabbled in personal printing at work at one time or another, whether it was a one-page map of directions or a ten-page paper, but considering the overall cost to employers tends to be overlooked.

Often these documents are harmless in nature — birthday invitations, directions, hotel and flight information, menus and shopping itineraries are all examples of documents that routinely are printed at the workplace.  With printers in sight and readily in reach, employees often don’t see the harm in using them for their own needs.  But even when intentions are harmless in nature, the truth is that organizational costs do add up.

So, How Can You Eliminate That Waste?

A recent study in the UK reported $40 million in annual losses due exclusively to employees printing personal documents with 79 percent surveyed admitting to the practice and 15 percent taking it a step further — admitting to using work hardware to print resumes for other employment opportunities.

That’s where document management software benefits so many businesses.  If employees are aware that records of their print/copy usage can be easily, and quickly reviewed, they naturally consider their personal usage rates before engaging in office resources.  Print management software enables employers  to review detailed reports and develop insight into the printing and copying usage rates around their respective office(s), along with the associated costs.

Installing software management doesn’t have to be viewed by employees as a negative measure, specifically since personal printing usage doesn’t always run concurrent with bad intentions.  But simply giving feedback on what employees are printing can often be enough to create awareness of activity and the monitoring process.  Everyone views taking other offices supplies, such as a stapler or calculator, for example, as stealing, but people don’t generally view printing a couple dinner recipes for when they get home in the same light.

But when the numbers are calculated, it’s apparent that a stapler or two can be significantly cheaper than footing the bill for just one month’s worth of personal printing usage.

Eliminate the Waste, Save the $

Additionally, the extra usage can lead to hardware failure and the need for soliciting copier repair services in Rochester, Buffalo and around Western New York.  Curbing employees’ usage of print and copy volume reduces some companies’ usage by up to 40 percent — that’s a LOT of paper waste.  It’s true that personal printing and the amount it costs businesses can easily be overlooked, but when brought to employees’ attention, it can lead to substantial reductions.  Industry insiders know a first-tier electronic document management system is worthy of consideration for businesses that are looking to reduce waste and associated costs.