Is your office printer being used for non-work purposes more than you think?

Employees hanging around the printer with a coffee and discussing their work is a common sight in many offices across the world, but according to a new survey, using the printer could end up being an expensive habit for small businesses. 2,500 office workers were polled by Cartridge Save regarding their printing habits, and the results showed that printing expenses are likely costing employers £85 per person, per year, which skyrockets to £4,292 for an average of just 50 employees.

Why were printers being used so much in the office? Well, most of the time it had nothing to do with printouts for work. 28% of those surveyed revealed that they’d often print out CVs and documents when looking for a new job while still being employed at their current one. Funnily enough, 26% said that their bosses ended up discovering this printer misuse but that it actually led to a promotion or pay raise in order to keep the employee from jumping ship. Travel tickets and concert tickets were other common reasons for using the office printer.

Although some cheaper online methods have become available over the last few years for buying printer ink, it’s no secret that every small business still dreads having to buy new toner or ink for fear of how much it’s going to cost them. If you’re not shopping around for a good deal, printer ink can become very expensive in the long run.

When we take into consideration that 54% of office workers are using their company’s printer because they don’t actually have their own, it’s easy to see where all that ink and paper is going. Most of the time, it’s happening when bosses are on a lunch break or in a meeting to avoid being caught, even if it can lead to being fired or reprimanded, 35% of respondents said.

“It has been an unwritten rule in lots of businesses for a number of years now that employees use the printer. Most bosses do tend to turn a blind eye – but it is worth adding up that cost to the business. It could equate to staff bonuses, a pay raise or an office social. Equally it is easy to see why office workers do take advantage of the office printer. It’s convenient and obviously not at a cost to them,” said Ian Cowley, MD of Cartridge Save.

While it’s long been acknowledged that buying a new inkjet printer can help save money and the environment, many businesses might still feel reluctant to fork out for an upgrade. However, if bad printing habits can be curbed, cheaper paper and ink bought, and a cost-effective laser printer like the Brother HL-L8260CDW purchased, then businesses can save costs by using economical products and using only use the printer when necessary (i.e. not for train tickets or CVs!).