What are Britons stealing from work?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 28, 2018, 11:57 AM GMT+0

One in eight employers consider the theft of minor office stationery like pens and pencils a “very serious” matter

A new YouGov survey has asked those Britons who have ever worked whether or not they’ve ever purposefully plundered their workplace and, if so, what they took.

The results show that pens and pencils are the most commonly stolen items from work, with 38% of Brits admitting to swiping writing implements.

Also popular among light-fingered employees are note pads (which 22% have lifted from the workplace) and printer paper (18%).

One in twelve Britons (8%) have risked prompting a passive-aggressive note on the office fridge by stealing food from work.

Some Brits are even stealing from work in order to kit out their home – 5% have stolen homeware like mugs or cutlery, 6% have half-inched tea bags and 7% have pilfered toilet paper!

The least common types of theft involved computer equipment like keyboards and mice (3%), with a particularly bold 2% having taken whole computers or laptops.

How much do employers care about office theft?

YouGov also conducted a parallel survey of employers to see how seriously they take such thefts.

Unsurprisingly the items that workers are most likely to be stealing are those that employers are least concerned about. For instance, two thirds of employers (66%) say it is not very serious or not at all serious is an employee is taking pens or pencils. Likewise 60% are not particularly bothered about notepads mysteriously disappearing.

Nevertheless, a hard core of 13-18% employers would take it very seriously if an employee was nicking some form of stationery, or indeed tea bags, toilet paper, homeware or food.

It is also no shock to see that employers are most concerned about the theft of money (which 89% would take very seriously) or computers/laptops (87%).

Photo: Getty

See the full results for the workers sample here and the business sample here