Light-handed egress: employees steal when leaving

by 27 Jan 2012

A survey has shown it may be wise to keep an eye on employees after an acrimonious departure – 27% of adults admit they have swiped something when leaving a job.

According to a survey of more than 2,000 employees by MassMutual, the most frequently taken items are:

  • office supplies (75%)
  • plants and flowers (18%)
  • furnishings such as paintings, chairs, desks (believe it or not), and lamps (14%)
  • clients (11%)
  • business associates (7%)

Four per cent of employees also admitted swiping toilet paper on their way out the door. Perhaps they felt they’d got a bum deal?

But it’s not just the ticked-off employees who steal on their way out. Another survey revealed that 56% of employees swipe stationery and office supplies to use at home or for their kids to take to school. Pens, pencils and highlighters were the most-pilfered products.

Why do workers steal? A third said they were “borrowing” and planned to return the item, while 25% didn't think their employer would “miss” the items. A further 27% said it was “easier” than buying their own, and 24% said they “didn't have time” to purchase their own.

But not all employees are office thieves. In fact, 34% of respondents reported bringing in their own office supplies because they didn’t like the brands or quality their employers provided.


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