Having a pen or notepad stolen from your workplace may not seem like a serious problem, but in fact, office theft costs businesses £183million a year. We examine how big the problem really is and what steps can be taken to prevent it.
Office supplies and theft: how big is the problem?
stationery, hardware, furniture and equipment; Employees use and have access to a wealth of company-owned consumables and devices while on the job, and companies trust them to take care of these items – not steal them.
The problem is, theft is more common than you might expect, with 39% of workers admitting to taking supplies and equipment without a permit. This represents a huge part of the UK workforce, with over 10 million guilty of theft from their places of business.
Of course, most companies wouldn’t blame their employees for taking essentials like stationery with them. But even then, the cost of loss can be significant, as our study shows that UK businesses lose on average over £183m each year as a direct result employee theft.
So the cumulative impact of lost office supplies can be huge. And as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forces businesses to change their work practices, cases of theft and loss may increase as physical assets become more difficult to track down and monitor.
The what and why of employee theft
Employee theft may be a bigger problem than many business leaders realize, but what’s driving it? And which items are most likely to be lost from a company’s inventory?
As part of our study, we were keen to examine the reasons why an employee might be taking supplies and equipment with them without permission. After all, most ordinary workers are not criminals, so what is the reason for their willingness to take objects from their workplace?
When asked why they take office supplies without a permit, workers gave the following reasons: lack of necessary supplies (42%), dissatisfaction with employer (13%), lack of competitive salary (7%) and financial Profit ( 4%) among others.
Most stolen office supplies
As expected, stationery accounted for the majority of office thefts, with 64% of respondents admitting to taking items such as notepads and pens.
Meanwhile, just 6% of employees admitted to using hardware, which is good news for companies who have entrusted their employees with expensive devices. Likewise, only 5% have previously stolen software, which is a relatively low number, at least on the surface.
Do companies take inventory theft seriously enough?
Since most consumable-related thefts involve stationery such as pens and notepads, employers may not see this as a major concern. But it’s worth reiterating the potential for losses that can result from employee theft, with UK businesses losing millions each year.
Also, keep in mind that employee theft can be an indicator of broader, endemic issues within your organization. For example, more than two-fifths of workers take supplies because they feel their employer has not provided adequate supplies. Such findings point to a broader trend, compounded by the pandemic, in which many UK workers feel they lack the necessary tools and supplies to work from home effectively.
With over 40% of employees citing this as the reason they purchase office supplies, this can serve as a wake-up call for organizations to assess and audit their supplies and equipment infrastructure – to ensure every employee has the tools they need needed for its success.
Elsewhere,’dissatisfaction with the employer‘ was the second most common reason for purchasing office supplies, which again may indicate a need for employers to closely monitor their supply levels as well as their employees’ morale and concerns. “Lack of competitive salary” has also been responsible for several instances of theft, although this motive is more difficult to explain and justify.
https://techround.co.uk/news/over-183-million-lost-annually-by-british-businesses-due-to-employee-theft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=over-183-million-lost-annually-by-british-businesses-due-to-employee-theft UK businesses lose over £183m a year to employee theft