This happens a lot at work, and I don't think there's a single word for it - or is there?


  1. Browsing the web for content unrelated to work
  2. Taking company time for personal grooming (like painting nails, shaving, etc.)
  3. Using the company refrigerator to temporarily store one's groceries purchased at lunch.
  4. Printing stuff not related to work (worse yet, if it's material for employment somewhere else.)

Stealing is not specific enough.

  • 1
    In the "old" days, it used to mean copping a roll of scotch tape to use when wrapping Christmas presents. I can see how that concept has so many more applications in this technically advanced world! – Kristina Lopez Aug 22 '13 at 15:43
  • "Perks of the job." – user867 Aug 23 '13 at 3:40
  • See also: workplaceSE beta – Kris Aug 23 '13 at 7:13
  • There might be single words for some of these actions, but I doubt there is one that covers all of them. For example, although I have come across companies that considered browsing the Internet for non-work-related content to be a type of theft, I have never come across any that were not okay with employees temporarily storing their lunch or groceries in the fridge if there is one. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 27 '13 at 15:18

There are many terms with different shades of meaning depending on the level of taking and the policies of the workplace. Some are

  • misappropriation (of company resources)
  • diversion (of company resources)
  • skimming
  • embezzlement
  • goofing off (misuse of time)
  • cooping (slang term for sleeping while on duty)

This sounds like a question for "morality.stackexchange.com".

There is indeed one word:


unless of course the employer has explicitly allowed it.

  • 2
    “Stealing is not specific enough.” – Tyler James Young Aug 22 '13 at 16:18
  • @TylerJamesYoung My point was that in whatever way we describe this activity, it still comes into the general category of theft. – Avrohom Yitzchok Aug 26 '13 at 9:26
  • Technically, much of what the OP described is property conversion. – Phil Sweet Dec 31 '16 at 16:30

An informal word to describe this act is sponge.

The person is sponging the company's resources.


'cynical exploitation' is closer to what you want I think. If this is done while pretending to be loyal, I would add the word 'subversive'

  • Please enhance your answer with some references, and some further explanation about why the phrase you suggest is the best one to fit the user's question. – Katherine Lockwood Dec 31 '16 at 1:07

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