Study reveals copy room violence

Five million Canadian office workers have “seriously wanted to kick or hit” their office photocopiers, and one in 10 admit to laying a little street justice on their machines, according to a recent Ipsos-Reid survey.

On Tuesday, Hewlett Packard (Canada) Ltd. – which sponsored the study – offered media snapshots of both the secrets of user-copier violence and the company’s new MFP (multifunction product) line of devices that integrate printing, scanning, copying, emailing, and faxing into a single unit.

“We actually found that there was a lot of rage out there,” said Janet Le Mare, HP Canadian marketing manager for imaging and printing.

The study found that 48 per cent of women reported fighting back the urge to sock their copiers, versus only 37 per cent of men. Le Mare added that men were to likely to have acted out their copier rage.

The national poll also found that Albertans reported the highest incidence of photocopy rage with over 50 per cent admitting to violent copier-bashing fantasies, while workers in Quebec showed the most self-control. And in an interesting comment on careerism and higher education, those most likely to contemplate a copy room clash were university educated and working in an organization’s higher income jobs.

In the second part of the survey – which focused on printing and imaging trends in the Canadian workplace – Le Mare said 44 per cent of the 400 IT and facilities managers questioned had already begun moving to combination printer-copiers, and another quarter plan to do so in the next 24 months.

Additionally, Le Mare said almost 80 per cent reported that the most attractive attribute in a printer-copier is strong networking and remote management capabilities. The next most pressing concern is achieving greater set-up efficiency, and time and cost-savings, than that offered by traditional printers and copiers.

Bill Grummett, IS infrastructure coordinator at St. Catharines, Ont.-based auto parts maker TRW Canada Ltd., said the concerns highlighted in the HP survey generally align closely with those of his organization.

“When we’re getting printers we definitely like them to be easy to get at through the network. I’m sure there are printers out there we could buy that have more bells and whistles on them than we really need, so first we make sure it will meet our basic needs and then also be cost effective,” Grummett said.

Grummett said TRW isn’t considering moving to converged imaging devices in part because its printers and copiers are from different vendors.

And when asked if any workplace frustrations have ever spilled over onto a photocopier Grummett said, “No, not me – but I don’t use them that much.”

Since mainstream printers began arriving with their own IP addresses in volume last year, printer companies such as HP, Canon Inc. and Xerox Corp. have each been evolving their printers into multifunction devices that can manipulate and send documents without the intervention of a PC.

Tuesday’s launch included the HP LaserJet 4100 mfp and 9000 mfp devices designed to be a printer, copier and scanner for large workgroups and networked business environments, as well as the company’s HP LaserJet 3300 mfp for small and medium-size businesses.

Each device is also equipped with a “send-to-e-mail” function that can scan and e-mail a document, which arrives as a jpg, tiff or pdf format, said Jean-Paul Desmarais, category marketing manager for HP Canada. Desmarais also touted HP’s new support and service suite that allows companies to outsource the care and feeding of their printer networks.

With these devices HP has delivered multifunctionality on par with the performance of separate single-function print, scan, copy, fax and e-mail devices, said Keith Kmetz, program director for printer research at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

“This time around HP has a truly integrated device. A printer with the look and feel of a copier,” Kmetz said. “What we’ve seen from printer vendors before was a half-hearted attempt at copying, but if companies are getting only convenience-oriented functionality, they are not going to accept that in their portfolio of devices.”

(with files from IDG News Service )

HP Canada in Mississauga, Ont., is at