Studies indicate that more than 60 percent of employees admit to stealing office supplies for personal use at home. Anything from pens and white-out to pads of paper and staples seem to be fair game, which can result in budgeting and profiting problems in the long run. There also tends to be a risk of misuse when it comes to employees utilizing supplies, simply because they aren't considered important or personal to most people. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep your office supplies safe and in good order. Consider these options:
Stock and Lock
One of the best ways to keep your office supplies safe and in good condition is to lock them up so they can't be freely accessed by anyone who happens to be in the office. However, it's important not to make employees feel like they aren't trusted as this can negatively affect team spirit, self-esteem levels, and even employee performance. And when employees have to ask for permission to access supplies they need, they lose a sense of their personal power.
So to ensure that employees can gain access to supplies when they're needed, consider putting an electronic coded lock on the cabinet in which everything is stored. You can then issue a unique code to each employee so you can track who accesses the cabinet and when. This will make it easier to correspond which supplies are being used most by specific employees, so that you can create solutions for overuse and improper use of your office supplies.
Create a Checkout System
In addition to providing employees with coded entry to your supply cabinets, it's a good idea to create some kind of checkout system to keep track of exactly how often employees are taking supplies out of the cabinets and what types of supplies they are. This will hold employees accountable for the supplies they checkout, similarly to how they'd be held accountable for checking books out of a library. If the supplies they take, such as staplers, are designed to be used long term, there should not be a reason that they need to check a new one out within just a month or two of the original checkout.
An effective way to ensure that employees are held responsible for the supplies they use is to assign a specific allotment of the basics – such as pens, sticky notes, and tacks – based on how much of each is generally needed for the tasks each employee is charged with. Any supplies needed over the allotment can be purchased or subtracted from next month's allotment. This should ensure that employees think twice about how their supplies are used and stored once they are checked out. Creating a checkout system should help ensure that borrowed items, like projectors, are returned in good shape too.
Provide Some Space for Air Circulation
The way your office supplies are stored has a lot to do with how well they preserve for proper performance once they're needed. For example, poorly stored paper can get moldy and wilted by the time it is taken out to be used. Everything from tissue boxes and binders to tape and printing paper can be ruined to the point of being useless if it doesn't have room to breathe, especially if you store supplies for long periods of time before employees make use of them.
When office supplies don't have room to breathe, you'll find that it is easy for dust and allergens to build up too, which can result in symptoms of asthma or illness that keeps employees from properly performing their jobs if they can make it in to work at all. To ensure plenty of air circulation, simply store your office supplies on vented stands inside your cabinets and have small air holes drilled into the backs of the cabinets if they don't already exist.
All it really takes is a little planning, some tracking and reporting, and a proper storage setup to make managing your supplies a cinch.