By Jennifer Goforth Gregory
The always-broken printer has been a workplace cliché for so long that many office workers have just come to accept it as a part of life. But it doesn't have to be that way — believe it or not, printers can actually work well.
Malfunctioning equipment can drain hours of time from coworkers who can't do their jobs while awaiting repairs. And each hour you spend solving printer problems is time you aren't devoting to more important projects. Budget-conscious managers may be reluctant to spend money on a new printer, but these five signs mean it's absolutely time to make a change:
1. Paper Jams Are a Daily Occurrence
It always seems that the dreaded words "paper jam" light up on the printer's display just when the boss is late for a meeting and the agenda is stuck in the printer. While some paper jams are to be expected, having one every day or so is a red flag that your printer is on its last legs. When your coworkers spend a large part of their weeks pulling crumpled paper out of the machine, nobody is happy or working well.
2. Your Printer Is Paper-Picky
Does your printer refuse to print on card stock — or anything other than regular printer paper? Of course, your marketing department has their hearts set on fancy paper, and the printer refuses to cooperate. Many models now print on pretty much every paper type and weight available without putting up a fight.
3. It's Slooowww
You hit the print button; nothing happens. Then, just when you give up hope, the document starts to print. However, the printer appears to be in slow motion, and you feel your hair turning gray just waiting. New printers can handle even complex graphics in the blink of an eye. An updated printer will not only make your colleagues more productive, it'll also eliminate the stress and frustration of waiting — and waiting — for a document to possibly print.
4. You Can't Count on High-Quality Images
Imagine your boss prints out a client report, complete with color photos, only to find that the photos are unrecognizable. You rush to the rescue and change the ink cartridge, but the quality is the same. Older printer models, as well as printers that have seen several years of use, often lose their print quality. This costs the company money each time someone has to send a document to an outside printing company to get a high-quality result.
5. It Doesn't Have a Scanner
When your printer can't scan, you have a separate machine to maintain and fix. By getting a printer that includes a scanner, you can save both money and time, because you only need to maintain one device. It's also much more convenient to be able to print a document and scan it in the same place.
Buying a new printer is a big investment, but malfunctioning equipment devours everyone's time and saps the productivity of the entire office. When you say "enough is enough," you can find something better. You'll also be praised for putting the old printer out of its (and everyone else's) misery.