People who are fans of the movie "Office Space" remember the scene where three of the players take the printer out to the field and beat it to death because it keeps giving an paper jam error even when there is no paper jam.
Unfortunately in some offices this scene is more accurate than most would like. Of course the error could be different. It might be 'low toner', 'out of paper', 'call service', 'wrong paper size' or any of a large number of common error messages. Paper jams seem to be the things that usually most frustrate users but the printer being out of paper when you print to it can be a close second. With network printers this can be the biggest issue as people fail to reload the trays when they run out. After all their work is valuable and they are busy. Too bad for the user that prints behind them.
All of these issues are a negative component of employee job satisfaction which can be avoided with a bit of effort and planning.
First, if your technology has been in place for a long time, especially without service perhaps it is time to have a qualified technician check it out to avoid unnecessary problems.
Secondly, take some time to configure your equipment to match your needs. Too often the printer is bought on price or convenience without a proper assessment of how it is to be used. Add a second tray to handle more paper. Have enough paper choices connected on the device so frequent tray changes are not needed. This saves on wasted print jobs and frustrated users who have to walk to the device, put in the right tray, go back to print and then change the tray back to the regular size.
Of course getting input from the employees who do the most printing in advance of making a purchase or change is a really good idea. Find out what causes them the most issues and take the information into account when you discuss your print needs with your supplier.
For many offices printing has become a necessary evil but one which IT departments and general managers would like to just ignore. This is where a good well managed print supplier relationship can really make a difference. If there are multiple units deployed in your office provided with a comprehensive support plan the technical team from your supplier will become more knowledgeable about printing and what it takes to make it work.
They will become your print experts and will be able to head off a lot of issues. Their recommendations of what to use, how to set up devices and when to make changes can save you time, lower frustrations, reduce overall risk of poor performance and in the long run save costs. A good managed print program can go a long way to reducing office frustrations.
Its not only print
With the deployment of MFP (multifunction printers) in offices today the functionality they provide goes way beyond print. They are printers, copiers, faxes, scanners and network gateways.
This adds significantly to the potential of users to have complications with their interactions with the equipment. It also means that the initial equipment and software choices at time of acquisition will be even more important. Don't get caught up by the push to the lowest cost solution without understanding that while the hardware cost might be less, the potential user time and frustration costs may be more.
Make sure your supplier or your internal purchasers have a full understanding of what is to be accomplished by your equipment and how it will interface with your employees. The savings of cost of lost time, general frustration and wasted output will be potentially much greater with a well configured installation.
Don't get caught in the "Office Space" trap of poor equipment performance just to save a few dollars or cents.