· 1 min read · News

What a liberty – half of us are swinging the lead at work, survey finds


More than half of employees in the UK ‘take liberties’ at work, such as making personal calls, taking extended lunch breaks or frequently arriving late, reveals a survey out today.

As part of ongoing research into the working habits of Britons, HR consultancy Reabur conducted online research in April of 1,218 people in employment in a bid to discover what 'liberties' are taken by the British workforce of today.

When asked, 'Do you think that you take liberties when at work?', more than half, 54%, answered 'yes'. A further fifth, 21%, said they did so 'occasionally,' leaving just a quarter, 25%, who didn't believe they took any liberties at work.

In order to establish what British employees classed as 'taking liberties,' the 54% of respondents who admitted doing so at work were asked to select all the appropriate examples from a list.

One of the most common acts respondents deemed to be an example of them 'taking liberties' at work was 'over-use of the company phone for personal calls', with more than half, 51%, claiming they did so.

A further 49% claimed they 'frequently' took 'longer lunches' than the time contractually allocated to them. Two-fifths, 39%, admitted to taking 'unauthorised' breaks during the day.

Almost two-thirds, 64%, said they 'frequently arrived late' to work and a further 33% that they 'frequently left early'.

Furthermore, more than a tenth, 11%, admitted to 'over-claiming' company expenses, while a further 6% said they had 'borrowed petty cash and not returned it'.

Kirsty Burgess, co-managing director of Raebur, said: "I would strongly advise those respondents who admitted to taking liberties at work to stop doing so. As much as an employee may feel they are getting away with being dishonest about expenses or taking extra breaks and leaving early, employers are usually always aware of what their staff are doing, even if the member of staff thinks otherwise.

"Once the manager or HR department has gathered enough relevant evidence of the liberties being taken, they may well be within their rights to terminate the employee's contract.

"If employees are taking extra breaks or feeling the need to rest longer than their contractual lunch break due to workload or stress, it would be better to approach the management with the issues and see if they can be addressed, rather than taking liberties and being deceitful," Burgess added.