Preventing theft in the workplace…


Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, Barrington, New Hampshire, noted that unfortunately theft in the workplace is an issue that affects all businesses and their employees.  Dr. O’Connell made some suggestions to his staff that may help alleviate this problem.

Thefts are usually crimes of opportunity.  Unattended valuables and electronics that are left out in the open, even for short periods of time are subject to theft.  Since most office thefts fall into this category, the reasonable conclusion is that most of them can be prevented, and it is the employees’ responsibility to help prevent them.

Purses and other valuables should be locked up at all times; just trying to hide a handbag under the desk is often not effective.  If there is no key to lock up valuables in desks, then a lockable file drawer or other cabinet may be used.  If valuables are locked up, the key should be kept with the employee while at work; leaving the key in a desk drawer is not prudent.  If it is not possible to lock a purse up, then it should be in a place where it is completely hidden from view.  Because many thefts are thefts of opportunity, having to search a person’s work area will often serve to discourage theft.

Large amounts of cash should never be taken to work.  If for some reason, this cannot be avoided, the best way to keep it safe is by keeping it with the employee at all times.  Another option is to lock the cash in the glove compartment of the car; however, the car also needs to be locked if that is done.  An employee should not discuss how much cash they have with them in an open area, the fact that they own an expensive iPhone, or they could become a target if others overhear their conversation.

Serial numbers on phones, tablets, laptops and any other electronic devices the employee owns should be recorded.  Electronics can also be marked in some distinctive way that will make them recognizable to the employee.  Just getting a distinctive cover or case for a device is not effective because these can easily be removed and discarded.  Also, coat pockets should be emptied before hanging them up; car/house keys should not be kept in coat pockets.

As an employee, honoring the company’s security policy is also important.  No doors should be propped open for convenience.  There are reasons for doors being put on lockdown.

If there is someone in an employee’s work area that they do not know, they should not be afraid to ask if they need help with something.  Most legitimate visitors will likely appreciate assistance.  The assistance of a fellow employee, who can be trusted, to help watch another employee’s work area when away from their desk is also a good idea.  Any suspicious activity should be reported to a supervisor or manager.

Taking these steps, should help make an employee’s personal items safer in the workplace as well as the workplace itself and do so in a reasonable manner.

About Dr. Michael J. O'Connell, New Hampshire
Dr. Michael J. O'Connell of Barrington, New Hampshire, has forged a distinguished career spanning over three decades, as entrepreneur, physician, businessman, philanthropist and healthcare consultant. As former owner, administrator and CEO of a 225+ employee multi-specialty medical practice, Dr. O'Connell has dedicated his entire professional life to helping patients with family medicine and especially those experiencing chronic pain and all aspects of addiction. Since selling his family of healthcare businesses, he has never once contemplated retirement despite his rich and fulfilling journey, but instead has turned his focus to consulting in an industry starved for courage and creativity. Having weathered many political, technological and legal challenges, there is hardly a storm he has not confronted, a tempest he has not quelled, an urgent need he has not met. While the talking heads and self-proclaimed experts in the field have assumed the conventions and standards of the times, Dr. O'Connell does not believe in merely reflecting the herd mentality, but rather in leading the charge. Eschewing political correctness, Dr. O'Connell says and does what needs saying and doing, and not what the mindless masses expect. In addition to the continual education afforded by his variegated life experiences, Dr O'Connell earned his BS in Biochemistry at the University of NH in 1975, his Medical Degree from Dartmouth College in 1981, interned at Walter Reed Medical Center in 1982, Residency/Fellowship at UCSF in1986, and finished his Masters in Healthcare Administration at UNH in 1995. Dr. O’Connell enjoys many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, and golf. Through the decades Dr. O'Connell has supported many non-profit charities to include the St. Charles Home in Rochester NH, the Tri City VNA and Hospice, Hyder House, and Cocheco Valley Humane Society. To the latter organization alone Dr. O'Connell has donated over $180,000 and pledged another $250,000 in the “Bring-Us-Home” campaign for a new building. His “Matching Donations Christmas drive” has generated over $175,000 in charitable giving from the community. In addition Dr. O'Connell has participated in many dozens of other volunteer and donation efforts locally as well as in Africa and the Dominican Republic. For a listing of how I gave back to the community during my career and continue to do see:

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