I once lost a particular vital item at work. It was a very expensive digital audio recorder, treasured by many colleagues, valued by the boss. Where I left it, I could not recall. I ended up spending a whole month regretting and blaming myself for being so negligent. Then another month passed by while I made plans to tell the boss, hoping he would not find out before I informed him of the missing item.
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Reporting a missing item is crucial. What usually is uncertain to most people is when to report it. One would rather avoid reporting too early less it turns out that the item was not missing after all, but misplaced. At the risk of being accused of raising false alarm regarding a missing vital item that might end up found under your desk, there is the tendency to keep mute about your search ordeal till it is too late to voice it out.
Whatever the situation surrounding a missing vital item in the workplace is, it is important to report it promptly. One of the ways to get your boss aware of the situation is via email. This way, it is well documented that the missing item has been duly reported to the management.
Here are some tips to follow when reporting a missing or misplaced item;
- Introduce yourself appropriately so that from the onset, your boss would know who is on the other end of the line. Whatever previous standing you had with the boss, will reflect in the mindset with which your email would be read.
- The item is missing, be clear about this and avoid unnecessary ambiguity.
- Avoid lengthy details about how the item got missing. Though your boss will want to know how the item got missing or misplaced, be succinct about it. Give only relevant information which includes when, where and a brief detail of how you misplaced the item.
- While you may be optimistic regarding finding the missing item, it is advisable not to raise your boss’ hope in case this does not turn out as expected.
- Take responsibility for misplacing the item or for negligence if indeed you were.
- State how you feel about the item you have misplaced or lost. First be clear about how you feel before stating what was missing.
- Do not forget to tender an apology for an item in your care that later got missing.
- It is important to note that your ‘boss’ here would be your direct supervisor or the head of the department. Except the company does not give room for this. For example, a small sales store where employees report directly to the owner.
- There are instances a missing item at the workplace is simply not out of negligence or oversight. In cases whereby a personal item is obviously stolen, it is important to get your boss aware especially if you have chosen to involve the security operatives in the matter.
Criminally Implicated Scenario
Sometimes, a missing item might not necessarily be placed in anyone’s care, but the fact that it is missing should be reported as soon as possible. If this object is treasured and the circumstances surrounding the way it is missing is suspected to be a case of theft, reporting to the boss promptly is paramount.
Here are some tips to follow when reporting such items to your boss.
- Let the letter carry not just your name but your designation/post in the organization.
- Go straight to the point by stating the missing item
- Do not implicate any co-worker either directly or subtly in your e-mail. State only the facts which are verifiable.
- Do not accuse, paint in a bad light or pass blame to any co-worker regarding the missing item.
- Avoid irrelevant details
- Inform your boss about how you are handling the situation
- Suggest a way out to avoid this in the future
Email Sample 1: How to Report a Missing Vital Item in Your Care via Email
Good Morning Sir,
My name is Smith Jones; I am one of the photographers of the company, currently stationed at Studio B.
I will like to bring to your attention an unpalatable situation which I found myself for about a week now. This has left me troubled as I made every effort to solve the issue.
I left the office late on the night of Friday, 12 January 2017, after the photo shoot. In my haste to get home early, I left the Canon EOS 1D camera on the desk instead of placing it with the other equipment in the studio cabinet.
On resuming work by Monday morning, I could not find the camera on the desk. Every search effort proved futile as it was evident that it was missing. Some of my colleagues joined in the search. We have also inquired from the cleaners if they had seen the camera, but they all reported that they had not.
I take responsibility for this act of negligence and I apologize for it.
Email Sample 2: How to Report a Missing Vital Item in Your Care via Email
I hope this email meets you well?
My name is Mark O’Brian; I am a full-time employee of the company. I work in the IT Department.
Sir, something happened this afternoon after the lunch break that I will like to make you aware of. My HP laptop got missing at the office during this period. The computer was left in my bag and placed in a place I consider to be safe, while I left for lunch. On return, I found it is missing. I have searched through the premises with no results. Other items belonging to me were removed from the bag and placed on the desk while the bag with the laptop is nowhere to be found.
I will like to report this matter to the police but thought to bring it to your notice before proceeding.
Thanks for your understanding.
Sample Email 3: How to Report a Missing Vital Item in Your Care via Email
I hope your day went well?
My name is Abraham Camp. I am the Store Supervisor in the Springfield County branch of the supermarket.
During our inventory taking exercise, we found out this afternoon that about 14 of our trolleys and some groceries items worth $2,500 from the store were missing. We have gone through the CCTV to solve this and have found no clues to show how this left the store. We are yet to find an explanation on how these items got missing.
We have involved the Sherriff in this matter and an investigation is ongoing. Pending the time while we solve this issue, every employee has been briefed on the need to be vigilant.
We hope to resolve the issue soonest.
Edited by Kelechi Duru
Deciding the right phrase to handle different situations can be very tasking. As a correspondent, you are directly involved in critical day-to-day interactions via email. This makes your ability to craft good email messages, using the perfect phrases and clauses, tangential to your business success.
There is a book by Meryl Runion that will help you to a great extent:
Perfect Phrases for Office Professionals: Hundreds of ready-to-use phrases for getting respect, recognition, and results in today’s workplace
Overall, this book will greatly improve your communication skills. It will also help you easily clarify assignments with your manager or projects with your clients as well as guide you in handling the inevitable complaints that sometimes follow sales of products or services.