More than half of Canadian workers use office equipment for personal use

Office workers also admit to snooping in confidential papers at the printer and playing office handyman

What is it about the combination of office workers and office equipment that inspires bad behaviour? While the cliché of photocopying our unmentionables is long behind us, the office device deviance continues.

According to a new study by Canon Canada, that co-worker stalking the department printer or photocopier may be sneakily printing a copy of his resumé, driving directions to that fancy new restaurant in town or taking a peek at the confidential report the boss just printed.

The study of 1,126 workers from across Canada found that 67 per cent of office workers have printed or copied personal documents on office equipment. The most printed item at 39 per cent is driving directions, followed closely by resumés at 34 per cent and photos at 18 per cent.

Ironically, 45 per cent of men who admitted to using the office equipment for personal reasons sneakily printed driving directions versus only 35 per cent of women.

But the skull-duggery doesn’t end there. Twenty-eight per cent of Canadian office workers have admitted to lurking by the printer and snooping through their co-workers' potentially confidential documents.

“These results should be a wake-up call to pay closer attention to printing and copying usage within the workplace and the impact it can have on security and the bottom line," said Mason Olds, vice-president and general manager, imaging systems group of Canon Canada.

Other top office equipment offences include attempting to fix malfunctioning devices. A whopping 76 per cent of well-meaning employees have attempted to solve technical glitches despite vendor recommendations to the contrary.

Of the workers who use printers or photocopiers with passwords or codes to track printing costs, 67 per cent admitted they don’t know how to input client codes or passwords.

“The fact that employees admit to not knowing how to input codes into printers and copiers is a clear indication that businesses are not effectively tracking printing costs,” said Olds. “Clearly, there needs to be a shift in thinking in the business environment when it comes to more cost-efficient — and effective — printing.”

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