A study commissioned by Avery UK in aid of ‘Hands Off Week’, a national awareness campaign encouraging organisations around the country to protect their possessions and safeguard company property has revealed that the ‘workplace thief’ is most likely to be a middle ranking member of staff or even the boss. Trainees, temporary staff and junior employees were the least likely to be light-fingered with company property.
The survey of 2,000 UK workers found that more than one in ten businesses say important tools of the trade go missing, get lost or stolen on a weekly or monthly basis.
The most common items to be reported missing were small specialist tools and stationery, with almost 65 per cent of UK workers saying items had been taken directly from their desk or workstation. A further 38 per cent of workers often fell victim to lunchtime theft too with food from the work fridge or kitchen and even their lunch box being taken.
The research also uncovered plenty of more unusual items missing, with one in 10 employees stating that they’d noticed the disappearance of odd items from the workplace. Among the stranger items reported missing were inflatable animals, a garden gnome, a dressing gown, hi-vis clothing, scales, spoons and even an old x-ray machine.
The study also revealed the average cost to companies, with losses in the last year averaging £1,334.85. Despite this over a quarter of respondents said their company wasn’t taking any special precautions such as labelling, locking or hiding company property. Although two out of five respondents did feel that labelling valuables could act as an effective deterrent.
Fiona Mills, marketing director at Avery UK commented:
“As well as looking at the wide range of items to go missing at work we also wanted to explore the impacts of this. Our research found that almost three quarters of respondents said that losing key items from the workplace would affect their ability to work. Yet just a few simple security solutions like labelling company property or displaying effective signage could help make all the difference. That’s where Hands Off Week comes in, to help both businesses and their staff protect their possessions, deter theft and improve the chances of their lost property being rightfully returned.”
Taking place 15-19 September 2014, Hands Off Week is encouraging people to take simple steps to ensure the safety and security of their possessions at home and work.