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How to Establish a Personal Printing Policy In The Office

costly printing

Let us know if this sounds familiar.

You’ve needed to print something for personal reasons and the massive multifunction printer is calling your name. You start doing the scheduling in your head to determine when would be the best time to print personal documents so as not to draw attention to such a potentially wasteful behavior. You hit the “print” button and then make a dash to the printer to grab the documents (or photos, heaven-forbid) before another co-worker or even supervisor finds what you’ve printed. Should you feel so ashamed for printing personal documents in the office? Should your company be restrictive with personal printing? In this piece, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of having a protocol for personal printing in the office.

When To Establish Personal Printing Protocol

So, you’re pulling up the printing services costs in order to see how you can save money. When you take into account how much company printing is required for day-to-day operations, you notice that excessive printing is happening. While this may be just wasteful printing practices on behalf of your staff ranging from printing too many handouts, memos that could be emailed, not using two-sided printing, or the like, this may be attributed to personal printing happening on the part of employees. Taking measures to curb in-office printing may be an option, if this number seems beyond what is necessary for business operations, it may be necessary to institute a policy on personal printing.

The No Tolerance Policy For Personal Printing In The Office

One avenue you may feel like taking is a zero-tolerance policy towards personal printing. You may be fed up with excessive personal printing cutting into your company’s budget and decide to put your foot down. While this is beneficial from a cost standpoint, this controlling behavior may hurt staff morale. Not being able to ever print any personal documents may lead some team members to speculate on the stability of the company. After all, are a few printed directions to a holiday party going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back? 

Open Allowance of Personal Printing In The Office

On the flip side of the coin, some companies have a very open policy regarding personal printing in the office. The upsides of this policy mean that the staff members feel like the company is doing well and that their jobs are safe. They may also feel like their supervisors truly care about them and want them to feel at home at the office. A downside of this policy is that some team members may abuse this policy. What used to be the occasional insurance document becomes weekly grocery store shopping lists or images to decorate cubicle walls.

An Allowed, But Limited Personal Printing Policy For Staff Members

Coming right down in the middle is a limited personal printing policy for an organization. The advantages of this initial implementation may send the message that, yes, you’re aware that personal printing is happening and something needs to be done about it, but that you have a heart and realize that sometimes someone needs to print something on the fly. Some employees may love this policy. Some workers may never feel the need to utilize it. In this case, you may also note that the allocated number of pages printed can be transferred among employees as needs arise. In these cases, you may choose to let employees report their own personal printing levels on a shared spreadsheet.

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