The hidden cost of the office printer

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Staff who use the office printer to run off personal items could be costing small businesses around £4,250 per year.

Three quarters of those interviewed for a survey by the printer ink firm Cartridge Save admitted to using it for items items unrelated to their work.

Not surprisingly, 54 per cent used used them purely out of convenience – but almost one in five said they do so to get back at their boss.

And half admitted printing off their CV under the nose of their bosses. Other common personal items printed out of the business budget included travel documents (45 per cent), gig tickets (42 per cent), interview documents (38 per cent) and

female officer worker with printer
Quickly does it: printing while the boss is away?

The data revealed that more than a quarter (28 per cent) revealed they frequently use the office printer when looking for a new job.

More than half of those caught in the act said they had either left their job earlier than planned, been fired or issued with a warning.

The survey polled 2,500 office workers after it emerged that two thirds of employees said their New Year’s Resolution was looking for a new job.

A quarter of those who admitted sneaky printing practices, said they did so during a lunch break – while a one in ten waited until their boss was in a meeting.

And what about the photocopier? Several claimed they had caught a colleague or boss copying body parts, whilst one said he had caught a peer printing off an erotic novel.

Half (50 per cent) admit to printing off their CV under the nose of their bosses with other common personal items being printed out of the business budget including – travel documents (45 per cent), gig tickets (42 per cent), interview documents (38 per cent) and photographs (16 per cent).

Ian Cowley, MD of Cartridge Save
Ian Cowley: bosses turn a blind eye

Cartridge Save MD Ian Cowley, 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.”

How common is it?

The research revealed it could be a daily occurrence – with 38 per cent of office workers admitting they print personal items off up to FIVE times a week.

On average, they print off 11 pages of personal information – and at 5p per page the cost per employee per year is £85.

It was estimated that, medium-sized businesses averaging around 50 employers, this could amount to over £4,000 every year.

There was one ray of hope for anyone caught out. Even though a third of managing directors have issued verbal warnings and sacked employees for printer misuse –  a quarter (26 per cent) have rewarded their employees when catching them printing off their CV – with a pay rise.

Read the full repot here