According to insurer Royal & SunAlliance, some 24m British workers – about four-fifth of us – will admit to having pilfered something from the office. In most cases, the theft falls into the ‘petty’ category – an envelope here and there; the occasional stamp, the odd bit of stationery.
But some of the larceny is a bit more serious. One in seven admitted to fiddling their expense claim forms. And believe it or not, more than 25% of us have pinched a laptop from the office to take home for personal use, and ‘forgotten’ to take it back.
Some of these reprobates don’t even seem to feel guilty about it. About one million people said they took the item ‘because they considered it to be their property’, while a similar number did so ‘to spite their company’. Sounds like the management at some of these companies needs to work on the esprit de corps…
Now R&SA wants to helps employers strike back. But what can you do? Chain down your computers? Set up metal detectors in the office doorway? Maintain a permanent armed guard on the stationery cupboard? R&SA is recommending a more softly-softly approach: it suggests you enforce policies ‘which encourage employers to respect company property’ or alternatively ‘sign in and out materials such as laptops.’
All very sensible suggestions – but we still reckon that an ex-para with an Uzi would be more effective.