Why Destroying The Office Printer is a Strategic Decision

The office printer frequently serves as an object of frustration and time. What does destroying the office printer demonstrate to your employees?

Published on 14 September, 2016 | Last modified on 17 April, 2023
Office Spaces Scene is Iconic for Destroying the Office Printer 1

Corporate culture has forever been glamorized, mocked, and critiqued by pop culture. Beyond the Charles Foster Kanes and Gordon Gekkos of the world, film has even touched on the more subtle nuances, seemingly mundane at times, of working in an office environment. These are repetitive tasks that one usually spends little to no time reflecting on, but over the course of time, however, spends hours, weeks, or even months doing throughout the progression of their career.

Herein lies the office printer.

Arguably the most notable, the 1999 film “Office Space,”  gave the office printer its very own scene, ending with three disgruntled workers kicking, throwing, and smashing the printer in a field with a baseball bat. Part therapeutic, part revenge to error messages and paper jams, the scene has warranted countless memes and references around watercoolers almost two decades later.

Office Printer can be a Source of Frustration

Why Does This Still Resonate with So Many People?

Beyond these amusing memes, this scene has grown from a classic cult comedy moment to representing something far greater; an emotional response to the emotionlessness of corporate timewasters. Recently, the Wall Street Journal covered a resurgence of printer-related destruction. “Printer smashing parties” have become corporate team building exercises – rent an athletic space or drive to the closest field, bring a bat or metal pipe of your choice, and mercilessly smash your office printer(s) in as many pieces as humanly possible. As one commenter to the WSJ article stated, “ The printer bash scene in Office Space speaks to computer techies on a spiritual level.”

As companies become more lean, efficient, and budget-conscious through the adoption of new technology, the office printer increasingly feels more and more of an alien-like object in the workplace; often shoved into closets and pushed into empty office corners. Yet some organizations still cling to these machines of the past, contradicting every other managerial and technological innovation. The most common argument? Cost.

What kind of ROI is there on a six figured employee standing in front of an office printer? A Negative one.

Fortunately, many organizations are beginning to understand the True Cost of Printing. The physical cost (paper, ink, equipment) of producing a document only consists of about 20% of the overall costs related to printing.

The True Cost of Printing, office printer

The conversation about cost then becomes less about what an actual document costs in a commoditized sense, and more inclusive of the process behind its production – if a team saves 10 hours of labor, weekly, by migrating their in-house print to a cloud-based provider, the ROI of process improvement greatly exceeds of comparing cost per impression. Add in toner, maintenance, and paper, and the room for cost savings can often be shocking, at times.

The Human Element

What does the continued use of office printers say about your organization? Quite obviously, “startup culture” is growing in the American workplace of any age or size – open office floor plans, bring your pet to work, beer on tap, and coffee for discerning palates.

Many of these are cultural adjustments to humanize corporate America and make workplaces a better place to work and, well, spend your time in. They often communicate the values that leadership finds to be ideal traits in employees. If an employer values the resources and time employees have to accomplish their career goals and move the business forward, what does the elimination of an office printer say about that?

Destroying the office printer reveals a lot more than just forward thinking or budgetary restraint. As a manager, it demonstrates how you value your employees time.

The Netflix of Print (and Learning from Blockbuster)

As nearly every other technical aspect of enterprises is being migrated to the cloud, print is no exception. It’s fair to say that the cloud is everywhere at this point. According to Right Scale’s report on the cloud’s importance in 2015, 93 percent of organizations surveyed are either using hosted applications or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Whether it’s cloud-enabled enterprise mobility or hosting digital training content, businesses are exploring all of their cloud options.

Forbes reported that Blockbuster, the failing brick and mortar video rental chain of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, never reinvented its company to compete in a cloud-enabled economy. Organizations that fail to adapt to new ways of doing business will be left in the dust.

Cloud-based printing services put decision-makers in the optimal position to make the best selections when choosing how to produce materials. Simply put, cloud-based printing services are the Netflix of paper. By providing businesses with more printing options and efficient procurement processes.

The direct result is that better decisions can be made, which please customers and employees, and the time spent standing in front of the office printer can now be spent actually doing your job.

In Conclusion

The office printer has been the subject of ridicule and frustration in pop culture, most notably in the cult classic film “Office Space.” However, the continued use of office printers in the modern workplace speaks to a larger issue of corporate inefficiency and a lack of consideration for employee time.

Cloud-based printing services offer a solution to this problem by providing businesses with more printing options and efficient procurement processes. Companies that fail to adapt to new ways of doing business risk being left behind, as demonstrated by the downfall of Blockbuster in the early 2000s. It’s time for businesses to take a hard look at their printing processes and consider the true cost of printing, including the value of employee time. Mimeo Print offers a solution for businesses looking to improve their printing processes and streamline their workflow.

Ready to take the bat to your printer?
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Mimeo Marketing Team

Mimeo is a global online print provider with a mission to give customers back their time. By combining front and back-end technology with a lean production model, Mimeo is the only company in the industry to guarantee your late-night print order will be produced, shipped, and delivered by 8 am the next morning. For more information, visit mimeo.com and see how Mimeo’s solutions can help you save time today.

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