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London, 2nd October 2007 British office workers* must compete in a global economy but the nation’s desks are groaning under the weight of unfilled paper documents, photos of family and friends, foods and soft toys, according to a recent survey conducted by leading office equipment vendor Toshiba.

Toshiba conducted the research** as part of a campaign for more responsible printing and intelligent filing in the workplace. Survey results show that more than one in two respondents (64%) confessed to having huge piles of unfiled paper on their desk amongst other non-work related items.

Just over half of respondents said they would eventually tackle their paper piles to file important documents, with 40% admitting they would rather throw printed paper away than worry about how and where to file it.

The worst culprits for paper hoarding were professionals in the retail, distribution and transport industries (68%). Manufacturing office workers appear to be the nation’s tidy desk stars with 70% claiming to religiously file their paper documents away.

The survey revealed that it is more than paper cluttering desktops. Amongst items such as photos and food, almost one in ten respondents across all industry sectors also admitted to having soft toys on their desks. The biggest soft toy fans are office workers in financial services and City workers who admitted to keeping their comforters such as photos, foods and soft toys close by their side***, while manufacturing office workers had strictly no space for toys on their desks.

Meanwhile, experimental and survey data presented recently at Psychology Conferences in both the UK and Canada suggest that pictures and plants for examples used within a workspace help office workers create an environment that reflects their own identity. While this form of self impression within workspaces certainly impacts performance in a positive way, according to professor Craig Knight from the University of Exeter, the final big finding is that British office workers have lost the skill to file. A high percentage of 41% of all respondents admitted to not tidying their desk on a regular basis.

“The results are not surprising”, says Steve Hewson at Toshiba. “There seems to be a tendency to print documents for one-time use and then dispose of them. However, by scanning documents and filing them electronically, these become much more available to the rest of the organisation, free up desk space – and not to mention reduce the amount of paper being wasted.”

*Respondents are key decision makers in companies larger than 1,000 employees in the UK. The survey of interviews with 100 separate companies in this category represents a 1:20 ratio (assuming that there are 2000 UK companies with more than 1000 employees)

** The Survey was carried out by research house Vanson Bourne. More detailed responses from the survey are available upon request.

*** 57% of office workers in financial services keep photos on their desks
33% of office workers in financial services keep food on their desks
14% of office workers in financial services keep soft toys on their desks

For more information please contact:
Funda Cizgenakad/ Corinna Stadel
GBC Public Relations
Tel: 020 8322 1922

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