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Staff attitudes to print in the workplace

Image: Staff attitudes to print in the workplace

Often, the biggest challenge in delivering managed document solutions can be bringing staff on board with the culture change associated with a new technology regime.Here at Altodigital, we’re well aware of the issues and problems that arise when you decide to implement new structures, and are in prime position to advice you on the matter.

Managed Document Solutions bring numerous benefits to businesses of all sizes. From improving the efficiency and workflow of documents, to reducing energy costs by as much as 40%, these changes in working practices enable organisations to become more effective and ensure devices operate in a more efficient, centralised way. The list could go on, but ultimately, it’s all great news for businesses.

However, as many in our industry know, despite these many and varied benefits, one the biggest challenges we face in effectively delivering our solutions and achieving our already challenging KPIs is bringing the staff who will be using the technology on board with a new way of working, and essentially changing their ‘print behaviour’.

For example, persuading a PA that they no longer have access to a desk-top printer, or convincing a busy account manager that that they have to re-learn a document management system can be a huge challenge, especially when the move is perceived as disruptive to the company status quo, or worse still, a ‘demotion’ in responsibility or privilege.

While of course this is not the case, you can understand how they may feel and this resistance to change needs addressing. Remember, if even a small percentage of a workforce are unwilling to fully embrace a new MDS infrastructure, then it is unlikely to ever achieve its full potential, and worse still, will put you under enormous pressure to achieve your organisational objectives. The real challenge therefore comes down to winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of a workforce, but how can you do this?

A starting point should be looking to an organisation’s internal communications department to clearly, concisely and effectively communicate the bigger MDS picture to their employees, whether it’s about saving money, improving efficiency and workflow, or operating in a greener capacity.

This last point in particular is a huge asset. As green issues increasingly come under the spotlight, we find within every organisation there are a number of ‘environmental champions’, who are already beating the drum when it comes to recycling or energy saving for example. By giving these people a voice, educating them into the many green benefits of an MDS infrastructure, and empowering them to bring others on board, you will often sway the tide at a ‘shop floor’ level.
Education from a technical perspective is also important. Many staff will be cynical about new technology, perceiving it simply as something else to learn in an already busy working week. However, with a dedicated training programme that focuses in particular on the positive results and benefits of the solution, this can be mitigated.

For example, our Lexmark Scan to Network Premium product features a sophisticated digital indexing interface, meaning users no longer have to scan and file individual documents, a process which can take up a significant amount of time. As soon as we demonstrate how this can streamline a previously time-intensive task to those involved, people are immediately on board.
And often, the required changes need to come from the top, and certain tools can help encourage this. For example, solutions such as Lexmark with Papercut, monitors print volumes across an organisation’s offices, as well as assigning a cost-per-print value on all output, meaning print costs are visible in real-time. That means a company director – or even better financial director – can see how much each printed sheet costs. With this in place we find more often than not, a company’s policy of defaulting to colour will very quickly shift to black and white! 

So, the next time you really want to make an impact with a managed document solution, then take a more holistic view. You can have the best solution in the world, but unless an organisation’s staff are behind it, it will never realise its potential. Remember, this is as much about people as it is about technology.

Photo Credit: bru76 via Compfight cc

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