The Great Mystery of Missing Office Supplies

The Great Mystery of Missing Office Supplies

I can’t believe I’m going to write about something as inconsequential as this. But so it is because we’ve found that office supply theft contributes to profit loss like a sneaky little parasite. At this point, you’re probably going to laugh off the loss of a $5 pack of pens. But get this: corporate America loses $50 million EVERY YEAR as a result of office theft. Now compare that with your small business and you’ll rethink the assumption that a stack of printing paper won’t make a dent on your profits.

Why are Missing Office Supplies a Concern

Think about all the office supplies that have been stolen in a year and get an estimated cost. That, my friend, is the loss in inventory. The problem is, if your company was a multibillion dollar corporation, you could have led these things go by. But right now, yours is still a small business. You’ve got to pay off rent, payroll, utilities, taxes, and office supplies out of your own pocket.

Check out this infographic by Maverick Label:

Via Maverick Label

Suppose you fall short on revenue from sales in a given quarter. You’re existing expenses then become engorged if office supple theft remains persistent. In your business, every penny counts. And loss by theft of mere pens and markers? That’s infuriating.

What Needs to be Done

In practice, fussing over a missing pen would make you seem like a boss gone off the rails. Which is why you’re going to need more subtle techniques.

The Office Honor Code

Develop an organizational culture embedded in morality and integrity. Communicate to your employees that above all else, you value their honesty, and they you trust them to uphold their own honor. Seems like a militant approach to the problem. But what you’re doing is triggering their conscious without pinpointing anyone.

Addressing the Theft

Picking out one person to confront over a lost paper clip is a terrible idea. A laid back address to the situation made to employees as a whole during a meeting? Probably better. Bring up the office theft as a side-note. In this way, you’re making it clear that you are indeed aware of the loss and that a persistence of the action will not be appreciated.

Help from Hands-On Security

If the problem continues despite your attempts at dropping hints, invest in surveillance. A constant reminder that they’re being watched is probably what they need.

This problem becomes a monster when your employees progress from thieving on ordinary supplies onto more valuable things—like your brand strategies, your embargoed financial data. In those situations, you’re going to need a more robust surveillance means like an employee monitoring software.

Appreciate Your Employees

It might help you to know that it is the disengaged employee that is most likely to steal office supplies. So before you begin using these tactics, try amplifying your employee appreciation and engagement policies.  Because they’re going to increase your profits more than theft prevention.


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