By Daniel Hunter

According to an extensive new survey by Oki Systems (UK), printing and paper still play a surprisingly important role in office life — with many businesses having little control over who is printing what — and why. Out of over 2,000 respondents, an overwhelming 92% carry out some kind of printing daily, with nearly half (45%) printing more than ten pages each day.

Even more unexpected is the revelation that 79% use office equipment to print personal documents with 9% claiming to do this at least once a day. The main reasons given for this are the lack of a printer at home (38%) and convenience (37%).

The survey quashes any predictions that the paperless office will soon be a reality. But, personal documents aside, there are sound reasons for much of this day-to-day printing. Some 59% of those polled cited the need for hard copy evidence as a reason for printing highlighting the demands of regulatory and compliance requirements.

However, according to Oki Systems UK, organisations can significantly cut the paper and energy costs plus the environmental impact of all this printing just by developing and managing a print strategy. In the survey, only 27% said that their company had such a policy in place that was being actively enforced.

“We’re not suggesting that companies suddenly enforce draconian rules to stop workers printing what they need to. However, it’s frustrating to see this wastage when, by taking expert advice from a managed document solutions provider, gaining control and adopting some straightforward measures, organisations can cut their printing costs by up to 30%,” says Graham Lowes, UK marketing director, Oki Systems UK.

“These measures can be very simple — for example, ensuring that for every-day work, double-sided printing is the default option. Energy can be saved by turning printers off at night — 61% of survey respondents said that no-one in their office was responsible for this small, quick task. Or a strategy may involve replacing diverse and ageing printers with new multifunction devices that use less energy and enable paper-free document flow such as scan or fax to email.”

The survey also highlighted how employees are now expecting to connect to office printers from their own smartphones and tablets. Of the 24% of respondents who brought their own phones and tablets into the office, a substantial 45% print from these devices from the office printer.

“It’s clear that the blurring of home and office time, brought on by the rise in mobile working, is having an impact on an organisation’s printing needs. A managed document solutions provider such as OKI can offer the expertise needed to bring office printing into the 21st century, while making significant cost and energy savings,” concludes Lowes.

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