Study says most American workers are thieves

October 01, 2018 - 5:18 pm

A lot of businesses may not be getting their money's worth out of their employees. 

In fact, they're likely losing money due to employee theft

Time theft has become more and more of a workplace problem. A recent study found the average employee steals approximately 4 to 5 hours per week from their employer. 

It's always been there. An employee accepts pay from their employer for time they have not actually put into their work. Socializing and chatting with co-workers, over-extended breaks, excessive personal time, late starts and finishes...and, getting distracted by the internet or cell phones...time spent with social media.

"There are enough distractions for a person at just about every job that time theft occurs," says UNO business professor Mark Rosa. "It's just about the extent to which it happens."

But, the internet has made things worse. 

With the advent of smartphones, employees are now on social media, playing games, checking emails and shopping online while they're on the clock.

"But to the extent that it happens, like 4 to 5 hours a week, that might be excessive," says Rosa. "That's 10 percent of the work week going to non-productive elements while you're at work."

And, those 4 to 5 hours per week goofing off on the job amount to nearly six full work weeks per year. 

Rosa thinks it may be more than that. "It happens all day long. In some ways 4  to 5 hours might be conservative." 

He some companies are fighting back. 

"I've known offices to say cell phones are not allowed. You have to leave your cell phone in a car or put it in a place where it can't be accessed so much inside the office." 

"Some places say 'The company's paying you. You're spending company money, So you shouldn't be doing a lot of personal things'."

But, does it actually amount to theft? 

"If you're not doing work, I guess you are, because you're being paid for that."
 

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