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Press Release

Bosses beware! Workers view theft in the office as a ‘guilt free’ right

Tea bags, paper, pens and software are all targets for the office thief

Office workers the length and breadth of Britain are stealing everything from pens and paper to software on a daily basis, as they increasingly see it as a right and perk of the job. This is according to the latest research conducted by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).

The survey – conducted across 200 companies - found that some 86% of those questioned never felt guilty when stealing from their employer, many viewing it as an unofficial right of the job.

Key findings included:

  • Pens are the most commonly stolen items by employees with some 82% stating that they regularly took them

  • A staggering 15% confessed to stealing tea bags; 11% toilet paper and 21% stole printer paper

  • Of the sample 16% stole software from their office to install at home

  • A further 26% admitted that they installed software on the office network without paying for it

  • 20% confessed that they also downloaded and installed music, games and ebooks that they also knew they had to pay for

Alex Hilton, Chief Executive of FAST said: “The challenge for corporate UK is not only the costs associated with the loss of goods in the office, but the inherent risks associated with that theft. If workers think that stealing software is a ‘right’ and that they are doing this guilt free, then corporate UK needs to ask itself one serious question: what on earth are they putting on the corporate network and are they managing their software estates effectively?

“To be clear this is not just about the potential risk of malware and other security issues, but the reputational risk for the business if they are caught using illegal software,” he added.

“Corporate UK needs to remain focused on one key fact: the company is liable if they are caught using illegal software, not the employee. These figures prove once again that the issue of illegal software use has not gone away and that businesses need to remain vigilant. Furthermore, organisations such as FAST, need to maintain the pressure on infringers through the effective use of both educational and enforcement programmes.”

The Top Ten stolen goods from the office:

  1. Pens    82%

  2. Post-it Notes   65%

  3. Blank CDs   33%

  4. Blank discs   33%

  5. Printer paper   21%

  6. Notebooks   20%

  7. SOFTWARE   16%

  8. Digital content  16%

  9. Teabags   15%

  10. Toilet paper   11%


About FAST
The Federation Against Software Theft was formed in 1984. FAST is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee and wholly owned by its members. It aims to reduce, restrict and or lessen the incidence of unauthorised dealings in computer software. It works on many fronts to promote software compliance and protect its members’ rights through awareness, enforcement, lobbying and promoting standards and best practice in business.


Press Contact:
Robin Campbell-Burt / Edward Dodge
Spreckley Partners Ltd.
T: 0207 388 9988