Categorized | Agents

Preventing theft at work: ideas to protect your office

No one likes to think the worst of their employees, yet it is a sad fact that theft and fraud at work is an escalating issue for many business owners and managers. Here, Thomas Bates explains what can be done to prevent workplace stealing from taking place.

Hire the right people
It seems an obvious point to make, but carrying out stringent reference checks is a must when recruiting. Do not be swayed by a charming and easy manner, or a recommendation from a friend or current worker. The prospective employee may well be perfect for the vacancy yet systems of taking on new staff are in place for a reason. Ensuring criminal record checks are thoroughly and fairly completed for all potential employees goes a long way to securing the stability of a workforce.

In addition to hiring honest workers, you should also take the time to assess whether their ethos is one in line with that of the business. Creating a code of conduct for staff to follow is a worthwhile venture so knowing that you have employed likeminded people to yourself can make this step less treacherous.

Create the right environment
The more open and honest a workplace is, the more open and honest your workforce will be. Opting for managed offices means that you have a lot of control over your workspace. Firstly, you can hire secretarial, reprographic and other support workers that meet your needs and the needs of your business. Secondly, some managed office arrangements allow tenants to have a say in the layout and furnishing. In this instance you might opt for an open plan floor to reflect your open and honest philosophy.

Furthermore, you should run a policy of both planned and unplanned audits. Do not be afraid of coming across as too authoritative or controlling. Loyal and dedicated staff will recognise that these measures are for their own benefit. They will be aware that their own personal gain is inextricably linked to the success of the business as a whole.

Know what to look for
Even when it appears that you have hired the perfect workers and that all the guidelines and procedures are in place to prevent theft and fraud, you can still be caught out. The time you take to get to know your staff as individuals can impact greatly on reducing the threat of improper behaviour. The more appreciated they feel and the more they know that you are a fair and honest leader, the less likely they are to commit crime.

However, there are signs to look out for that might indicate a problem. For example, a worker who is particularly possessive about their workspace or belongings could possibly have something to hide. Or a sudden change in personality and behaviour could suggest an issue. Certain documents being misplaced might point towards a potential problem.

These guidelines are not intended to incur paranoia in managers and business leaders. But prevention is always better than cure and no more so than when dealing with morality and security in the workplace.

Wilson is a business manager in the steel and aluminium industry. He is also an expert on setting up and maintaining
managed offices and writes on this subject for a number of websites.