Office supply theft is a problem at lots of offices, both big and small, around the country. Theft occurs when employees take something from the supply closet for their own personal use. It could be something as small as a pen, or something as big as a computer monitor. Whatever the case, this is theft, and it can cause business owners a lot of extra money over the years.
Here’s how to prevent office supply theft in your small business before it happens:
Approve All Supply Orders
It may seem like overkill to approve every single item an employee takes from the supply closet, but if you’re concerned about office supply theft becoming a problem, it’s something you’ll have to do. This will discourage employees from requesting more than they need, knowing that all items taken will have to go through you.
Lock the Supply Closet
When the supply closet is locked and the employees have to come to you or another executive in order to get the key, they’ll be discouraged from stealing. With a locked closet, stealing is not just a matter of wandering into the closet, taking more than they need, and slipping out. Employees will have to go through you and make a big show of unlocking the closet in order to enter. Keep it locked, and you’ll be better able to control office supply theft.
Keep In-Office Supplies to a Minimum
When it comes to office supplies, try to keep the bare minimum available in the office. Only keep the number of laptops you need in order for all your employees to have one, and no more. Keep a sufficient number of paper pads, staplers, and hole-punchers available, but don’t store extra. Keeping things to a minimum will make it easier to spot when something disappears, and employees will be less likely to take anything that the office really needs.
Observe Your Employees
While stealing from the office is never justified, it might be evidence of a greater problem beneath the surface. Are some employees feeling undervalued? Are they overworked and underpaid, and theft is the only way they feel they can “earn” a bit more? Take a look at your employees’ behavior in other areas of their day. Theft is not okay, but it could be cause for you to look deeper and see if there are any other unspoken grievances.
Office supplies can cost a pretty penny, especially if your small business is growing and becoming larger. Office supply theft could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Nip it in the bud before it becomes a big issue.