Over 2.5 million British workers have stolen something from their workplace, admitting to taking food, electronics and even money from their office.

Following a rise in demand for secure office storage, office furniture suppliers, Furniture At Work asked 1,000 Brits about office theft. The data suggests it is on the rise, with almost 1-in-8 (12%) having had something stolen from them at work.

The most common stolen items were pens and stationery, but one-in-10 (10%) have stolen money and 8% even confessed to taking a phone. A quarter of workers revealed they had stolen items because their colleague stole something from them first.

The research revealed which professions are most likely to steal from their workplace:

  1. Law – 25%
  2. Marketing and PR – 20%
  3. Leisure, sport, tourism – 17.6%
  4. Transport and logistics – 17.5%
  5. Retail – 15.7%
  6. Accountancy & banking – 13.8%
  7. Teacher training and education – 13.5%
  8. Information Technology – 12.3%
  9. Energy and utilities – 11.5%
  10. Engineering and manufacturing – 11.3%

Explaining why people steal at work, Art Markman, PHD, Professor of Psychology and Marketing, said:

“Human behaviour is focused on doing things that feel right in the short term rather than things that feel right in the long term. If you need to eat right now, then available food will feel good to eat, even if it is wrong to take food from someone else.

“People also tend to do what is easy for them to do in a particular environment. If you leave your new noise-cancelling headphones out on your desk in a cubicle farm, you are making it easy for people to give in to the temptation to acquire a new pair of headphones without paying for them.”

You can find more about office theft on the Furniture At Work blog.