HR Strange But True!
June 12, 2008

Only 22 percent of employees who admit to stealing office supplies say they felt guilty or regretted the act, according to a survey by the staffing firm Spherion.

While 74 percent of workers say that taking office supplies for personal use is wrong, 19 percent of workers admit to doing so in the past year The number of workers who have taken office supplies for personal use remains unchanged from 2007, but the number of workers who said they feel it was wrong to do so has increased from 69 percent last year.

When asked for the primary reason they have taken office supplies for personal use, respondent's most common response was that they needed them (42 percent).

One-third of those who admitted taking office supplies say it was because their boss/office manager gave them the OK to do it, and 18 percent say they took office supplies because the company will never miss them.

The survey found that the most common types of supplies taken by workers are pens, pencils or rulers (66 percent); paper, post-its or file folders (57 percent); and calculators, staplers or tape dispensers (11 percent).

However, 8 percent of workers admit that they have taken laptops, PDAs or cell phones, an increase from three percent last year.

"Given the current economic environment, what may appear to be a harmless act of stealing office supplies may actually have a significant impact on an organization's bottom line," says John Heins, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Spherion. "Office supplies can be one of the largest expenses for businesses and certainly employees' abuse of those supplies, either by stealing them or using them for personal use can erode company profits."

The survey also found that male workers (20 percent) are more likely to have taken office supplies than their female counterparts (17 percent). Male workers are less likely to feel it is wrong to do so and less likely to sat they feel guilty or regret the act.

Source: Spherion Press Release

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