AOS Online

AOS Online

June 20, 2010 19:00 ET

Why Are UK Employees Stealing Office Supplies?

GLOUCESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - June 20, 2010) - Theft in the workplace is starting to become a significant issue for employers in the UK. Most people might occasionally use their work phone for a quick personal call, but there are people who resort to even stealing such office supplies as chairs, computers and software, to name a few.

The difficulty appears to be determining what is actually considered to be theft. Most companies tend not to formally outline what their take is on this and so suffer the misfortune of having some individuals take advantage of this and help themselves.

The UK is the reportedly the worst place in Europe for work-based petty theft – so what makes us do it? Perhaps it's a cocktail of things. The UK is among the countries that have the longest working hours but also a later age for retirement as well as a higher cost of living, just to add to the dissatisfaction.

Therefore, maybe they consider a few personal emails sent from a work account or the odd pen taken from the stationary cupboard fair game and unlikely to bankrupt a company.

It has even been suggested that because of the long working hours in Britain, along with poor annual leave, people spend so much time in their job that they feel as if it's a home from home. Staff then forget that company resources and office supplies are not their own and help themselves without thinking.

But thinking objectively about it, maybe people only steal from their workplace because they can. If the outlines for what is deemed appropriate by businesses were outlined better, it could prevent a lot of pilfering.

AOS Online, a leading UK-based office supplies company, agrees: 'It is a good idea for companies to define their stance on this. It is very helpful for employees to know where they stand. But it is also important that they don't start splitting hairs too much and make an effort to make staff feel valued, as this can be equally preventative'.

It is certainly true that it helps if employees feel appreciated, as they will be more likely to show gratitude to their employers and mutual respect by not abusing resources.

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