Employers Are Being Robbed – Unknowingly

The bottom line for employers is crucial. The more money a company makes, the more money the share holders make. When a company realizes a profit on a consistent basis, they often pass some of those profits on to employees, either in the form of pay raises, bonuses, or stock options. Let’s face it, a company is in business, to make money.

But….more and more employers, are being robbed, unknowingly.

They are being robbed in broad daylight.

They are being robbed by some of their employees.

How’s that, you say?

Let me ask you a few questions.

1) Can employees use the company computer to “surf the web’, for non related work items? Or play games?

2) Can employees make and/or receive personal telephone calls during working hours?

3) Do you have employees who consistently take a few extra minutes for their break or lunch (over and above what’s allowed)?

4) Do your employees run personal errands, or stop for lunch, when they’re driving a company vehicle, on company business?

5) Do your employees use a company issued cell phone to make personal phone calls?

6) Do your employees leave at an earlier time than what’s posted on their time card? Or come in later, than what’s posted?

7) Do your employees send and/or receive personal emails at work?

8.) Do your employees spend time gossiping ,or just talking to other employees, when they have work to do? (Now you have two, or more, unproductive employees)

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, your company is potentially losing thousands, if not millions of dollars. Your employees are stealing “time”.

Let’s crunch some numbers.

Let’s say you pay an employee $10.00 per hour. They get paid for an 8 hour day. You pay them $80.00 (before taxes).

Let’s say, an employee is gabbing, surfing, emailing, and/or taking care of personal business, for one hour a day (spread out in small sections of time). They just stole $10.00 worth of “time” from you.

Multiply that times the numbers of days they work in a month, (say 20) and they’ve stolen $200.00 worth of time. For a year, that calculates out to be $2600.00 (based on 260 work days a year). If a “time stealer” has worked for your company for 5 years, they’ve potentially “stolen” $13,000.00.

Let’s say your company has 100 “time stealers” (all making $10.00 per hour). Math tells me you’re potentially losing $1000 a day; $20,000+ a month, and $260,000 a year. That’s money that should be going to the bottom line. Over a five year period, a company that employs 100 “time stealers”, could potentially lose over a million dollars in “stolen time”.

Now keep in mind, the amount “stolen”, is actually higher. Anyone in business knows, that in addition to the hourly wage you’re paying, you’re also matching the Social Security amount (6.2%), the Medicare amount (1.45%), FUTA, SUTA, Unemployment Insurance (state and Federal), Workers Compensation Insurance, possibly medical insurance, and/or a 401, etc… I would venture to guess, all of these extras, would add at least 30%, to the gross hourly wage.

So…the next time you’re doing reviews, ask yourself, “Is this employee stealing (time) from me?” If they are, they’ve already given themselves a raise.

How’s that? Time to do a little more math.

Your employee makes $80.00 a day, but they have only worked for 7 hours (or less). Do the math…$80.00 divided by 7 equals $11.43.

Let’s take this one step further.

Let’s say you have 8 employees who are each “stealing” one hour a day. You’re losing 8 hours a day. Does that mean you’re over staffed, by one. Do you see my point?

I’m not saying employees shouldn’t be allowed any leeway at work. No one wants to work for a boss who monitors their every move, but there needs to be more control over what employees are allowed to do on company time. Your IT department can monitor computers (i.e. emails, internet searches, game playing), and possibly telephone logs. It may pay to hire a person (or two), and do an internal audit. The results may shock you.

How did this happen? Employers let it happen. If an employee knows they can “steal” from you, they may just do so. If one person can get away with it, others will follow. Until you, as an employer, puts a stop to it, you will continue to be “robbed”.

A good employee handbook can do wonders to address these “time stealing” issues. No handbook? Maybe it’s time you had one written. Start a new company policy…….and abide by it. No exceptions.

If you’re in a position of authority, or are an employee, and you’re reading this, you must ask yourself that burning question, “Am I stealing, too?”

And…..what about those dedicated employees, who keep their noses to the “grindstone”, and are doing more than their share of the work? Give them a big, fat raise! They’re “keepers”!

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7 Responses to Employers Are Being Robbed – Unknowingly

  1. what says:

    Employers have already taken your slacking asses into account and lowered your pay long before you even slacked off.

    The fact that you slack off and waste time at work is a character flaw.

    If you do nothing with your free time, you will end up with nothing.

  2. Barbara says:


    Thank you for the comment.

    I think some employers know they have “slackers”, but lots of others don’t, as the slackers “look busy” when the boss is around.

  3. Asako says:

    This is a great post, having spent my time in a big corporation for a long time, I enjoyed this post a lot.

    I had a colleague who only gossips, and he keeps moving up to an executive position by trading gossips across different functions and divisions. One time, I protested to HR that I should be promoted, and I was told that I am not going out for lunch or beer or coffee enough with my colleagues.

    While employees are busy surfing on the web, their bosses are busy drinking coffee and gossiping!!!

  4. Barbara says:


    That doesn’t sound right does it?

    But, on the other hand, do you really want to work for a company what rewards employees who gossip, and/or suck up? I wouldn’t. I’ve always enjoyed jobs I’ve had, where my hard work was appreciated.

    In your case, you really can’t feel sorry for the company if they aren’t making the money they could. Those in authority are actually “promoting” slackers, and creating more slackers, by not being there to oversee the operation.

    Hopefully it’s not a “publicly traded” corporation. Stockholders might be appalled.

  5. Asako says:

    Actually, they are doing well, as they have good products that just sell so well. It seems most of bigger companies have these issues, because they have so much fat to afford them.

  6. That’s a great post and it’s interesting to see how quickly the numbers start to add up. One other thing to take into account is smoke breaks. I know there are a ton of companies that have outlawed smoking on their property, but for those that do, that’s another area that costs them money.

    10 minute smoke break, every hour, over an 8 hour day works out to 80 minutes per day. Multiply that over a handful of employees.

  7. pinaymob says:

    The most egregious example of employee theft that I have seen in my 32 years working in the U.S. is at a local casino. The employee took several smoke breaks, desert break, break from break break, etc. There are two smoke break rooms in that enterprise and this employee takes the one farthest away. One of her friends come in to work at 6 – time for smoke break! Another one comes in at 7 – time for break! One day, a co-worker logged in the total number of hours this employee goes on smoke break and she said that she logged in more than 3 hours total smoke break! OUt of curiosity, I tried this for two days in a row and I could say that she broke the record! And this person is so proud that she is able to do this under her supervisor’s and other managers’ noses. If you calculate the number of hours she’d taken a break from that enterprise (owned by Sioux Mdewakanton tribe ) – it is in thousands – more than the few dollars that others have been fired for (and I personally know a lot of them!). Well, we all know where the casino money came from!

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