British businesses are losing an average of £183 million to employee theft each year, according to a new study by business software specialist, Intact.

Investigating employee attitudes to business supplies and equipment, Intact conducted research around the prevalence of employee theft, discovering that a remarkable 40% of office workers have taken office supplies without permission.

Among the most common items stolen from UK workplaces by employees were stationery, hardware, software and furniture. And while theft of such items may sound inconsequential, the cumulative impact is huge – with over £180 million wasted in lost or missing resources each year.

At a time when businesses are facing rising costs and changing working practices, employee theft can prove a drain on resources.

In many sectors, employee theft is a growing and often-overlooked problem. And as working practices continue to change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, brands may find it even harder to track and monitor their physical assets as employees continue flexible working between home and office.

As well as the overall prevalence of employee theft and the most commonly stolen items, Intact were keen to investigate why employees take supplies without permission.

Surveying 1,000 people, they discovered that over 40% take supplies because they believe their employer hasn’t offered adequate provision. These findings marry with a broader national trend, with many UK workers concerned that they do not have the necessary supplies to work from home to the best of their abilities.

So, given the prevalence of employee theft and the fact that over 50% of employers don’t have a system to track supplies and equipment, what can be done to curb employee theft in the long term?

With the right system in place, employers can not only track and monitor physical assets, but also ensure their people have the right tools for the job. A centralised database can improve accountability and highlight gaps in your supply, so you can put your best foot forward when it comes to preventing employee theft in the future.

To explore the findings of Intact’s office supplies survey in full, click here.