A guide to office printer etiquette for a harmonious workplace

The office printer, possibly the hardest working piece of equipment in any workplace. It’s inevitable, every employee, at some point, is going to need to print out documents. Usually all at the same time. This central hub can be a place for a bit of friendly natter or the start of an office feud. There is nothing more frustrating than sharing equipment with an inconsiderate co-worker. Sharing the office printer requires consideration and common courtesy. In fact, there are many steps you can take to ensure you don’t clash with your fellow workmates at the printer.

office printer

7 steps for perfect etiquette at the office printer

Let’s be honest, we all know the rules of office etiquette. They’re simple really. Don’t take someone else’s food out of the fridge. Fill up the kettle when it’s empty. Ask before you borrow your neighbour’s stationery. These basic rules help us all live in harmony during the working hours. The office printer should be no different. If we’re mindful of our co-workers, and employ a few good habits, there never needs to be a feud at the printer again. Don’t be that guy, follow our seven steps to perfect office printer etiquette:

If you use it, restock it

Common courtesy is one of the first rules for harmony in the workplace. There is nothing more frustrating than sending your document to the office printer and getting up to find a flashing light and no prints. The paper tray is empty, or the ink ran out. If either of these happens while you’re at the printer, do the right thing. Reload the paper tray. Change the ink cartridge. These simple tasks will make life easier for the next person.  

Fix paper jams

In addition to the above, it’s also bad manners to walk away when the paper jams. We’ve all felt the exasperation when a piece of paper gets stuck in the office printer. The printer usually puts up a fight if anyone tries to pry the offending bit of paper from its grasp. An infuriating game of tug-of-war where there is no winner. No one wants to deal with a pesky paper jam. Nonetheless, if the printer jams on your watch, the polite (really the only) thing to do is fix it straight away. Leaving it will only create a backlog of prints, and some very irate co-workers. (Read our blog – Maintain your printer for longer, to discover how to best tackle paper jams.)

office printer

Don’t hog the office printer

No one wants to be the guy printing a fifty-page document while a queue forms behind them. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable. There are going to be days when you have a stack of paperwork to print out. But this doesn’t mean you have to hog the printer. If the person behind you only has a few pages to print, let them go first. You’ll save them time, and avoid the title of ‘printer hog’. Similarly, don’t monopolise the office printer for personal documents. Leave those for home, or, if you have to, wait until lunchtime or after hours.

Pick up your prints

This next one goes without saying – don’t leave your documents in the office printer. If you click ‘print’, you need to be prepared to get up and collect your pages within a few minutes. There’s nothing more annoying than getting back to your desk and discovering you’ve picked up someone else’s printing. Instead of a quick task, you now have to sort through the pages and separate yours from theirs. Not cool.

Don’t remove another person’s documents

On a similar note, it’s not acceptable to remove someone else’s prints from the tray. Collecting documents by accident aside, it’s rude to arrive at the office printer and dump the previous print job. If it’s not yours, leave it be. Unless, of course, the pages have been sitting in the printer for hours, days, weeks – then all bets are off. But, to be on the safe side, place a tray next to the printer for uncollected documents.  

office printer

Reset the office printer to default

Every so often, there comes a time when someone has to print an irregular sized document. Just change the settings on the office printer. Simple. But don’t forget to reset the printer to default. Chaos will ensue when the next person comes along and only half their page prints. Do the right thing, leave the printer how you found it. Always return the settings to default.

Print only what you need

This last rule is not only polite but also good for the environment. Only print what you need and nothing more. Not only does this save on company printing costs (and trees), but it also helps keep the office free of unwanted clutter. Be one hundred percent certain you want to print those pages before you unleash a stack of paper onto your desk.

In the long run, following these seven simple steps, will keep the printer wars to a minimum. Negotiating the office printer will always be a pleasant experience if everyone in the office remembers to be courteous and mindful. Does your home or office printer need new ink? Replenish your stocks at The Inky Shop. Find a store near you today.

Leave a Comment

The news is out!

The same QUALITY toner at a new, CHEAPER price!

We’ve cut our Inky Shop alternative toner prices. Do you want to find out how much you could be saving on toner cartridges? Come in store and see what great prices we’re offering or request a quote.