Are you an animal at the printer?

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Are you like a Parrot and need colour in everything regardless of cost? Or are you a Cheetah and need everything at speed? Or perhaps you are a Panda or Polar Bear and are happy with everything in black and white?  

Leading behavioural psychologist, broadcaster and journalist, Donna Dawson, says that office printing habits are the best way to examine the dynamics of the modern workplace, where peoples behaviour can be equated to The Human Zoo.  The research, commissioned by Canon, a world leader in digital imaging technology, revealed some interesting characteristics when office workers prepare to hit the print button, specifically when it comes to their use of colour. 

Parrots:  Often senior managers, they are beautifully presented and understand the power and importance of colour. Although cost conscious in almost every part of running a business, they throw caution to the wind when it comes to printing out the latest reports. 

Cheetahs: Usually the sales staff, cheetahs are fast, impulsive animals and magnificent to look at. They are heavy users of colour print, whether it is needed or not. 

Dragons: Middle managers, who often work for the common good. They use lots of colour in a desperate attempt to try and please everyone. 

Pandas: Good natured and attractive, the panda lives in the finance team and is very happy with a black and white print as cost is paramount in everything they do.  

Chimpanzees: One of the most resourceful animals in the office kingdom, they know what to do with colour and how to use it. They usually hang out in the marketing and PR teams.

Polar bears: Making the best use of resources, polar bears make a little go a long way. They dont often use colour, but when they do, it is used in the most cost effective manner. They make their dens in the IT department. 

Birds of paradise: Displaying themselves in a riot of scarlet and green, they show themselves with all their mighty glory usually pruning their feathers in the training department where high-quality printing and high grade paper are de-rigour. 

Stags: Departmental rutting and ownership displays are all important in the modern office jungle. General office employees are prone to antler baiting and ego shows through their excessive use of colour, when none may be needed. 

Donna  Dawson says: The workplace is like a human zoo, with distinct departmental groupings behaving in particular ways, with people in each department acting in similar ways. My study uncovered that senior managers are much like Parrots in that they are usually beautifully presented and recognise the power and importance of colour.   

Although emblazoned with colour, Parrots have a tendency to waste food because they have to grip with one claw whilst eating, or use their beaks to break things open, just as top managers risk wasting money by using colour the least cost-effectively of all the employee groups. 

The survey also comes with a serious message that using colour needs to be done so effectively, as an audit of where and what your workforce prints can be a simple and effective way to cut costs. The latest Gartner* research highlights that some organisations spend weeks, even months trying to find the right balance between the high cost of colour printing and the needs of workers.  

Tracey Fielden, Head of Office Marketing, at Canon UK, comments: If you look at The Human Zoo and think about what characters you have within your business and their objectives, you can take a big step towards implementing an effective colour printing policy. We know from our day-to-day work that colour is required more and more by ever diversifying groups within an organisation.  

Managers need to have an understanding of how different users have different needs, and then they must adapt their strategies accordingly.  Gartners latest report gives some good advice to those within an organisation charged with reducing office printing costs, which will help them to implement a colour printing strategy to suit all areas of the business. 

A light-hearted look at the anthropology of a typical organisation and The Human Zoo within it also helps us to better understand some of the behavioural challenges we have to face when it comes to defining and implementing a print strategy.  Its not about being king of the colour jungle, its about evolution and implementing solutions to the benefit of all.

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