Labelling your possessions with a label maker may seem like the kind of thing your parents did to your school gear to stop you from losing your stuff, having it stolen or accidentally wearing some other kid’s hat and ending up with head lice.
And you know what? All those concerns – including poor personal hygiene – exist in our adult workplaces too.
Labels these days are packing some serious strength. Seven-layer laminated tapes provide abrasion resistance without sacrificing print quality, strong adhesion and resistance to daily wear and tear from the weather, your toolbox and whatever else you might throw at them.
If you’re in a slightly more heavy-duty line of work, the laminated tape can cop virtually any spillage – including oil and chemicals. It’s also water resistant and can handle a ridiculous range of temperatures, from as low as -80°C all the way to 150°C.
Best of all, these features aren’t exclusive to professional (and expensive) labelling machines. Label printers are affordable and convenient and have the potential to save you time, money and hassle.
So why aren’t you labelling your valuables?
This isn’t my phone!
Have you ever started a shift, grabbed a piece of your generic-coloured kit – say, a high-vis vest or a hardhat – only to slip it on and discover it’s soaked with someone else’s sweat? Or tucked into a delicious lunch only to realise, two bites in, that it’s not yours? Not a great way to start the day, or your break, but there’s an easy fix.
We all make mistakes but simply putting your name on your gear will virtually eliminate these everyday errors.
If you want a possession to ‘pop’ – ensuring that no one can say they didn’t see your name on it – labels come in a range of sizes and you can even select from an assortment of bold colours (or use subtle, clear tape if you prefer to keep things toned down).
On the downside, sometimes people do grab things for bad reasons. Writing in the journal Crime Science, professor of criminal justice Ronald Clark noted: “People without pre-existing dispositions can be drawn into criminal behaviour by a proliferation of criminal opportunities.” The point of his article ‘Opportunity makes the thief’ is that reducing the opportunity for people to commit nefarious acts is an effective way to prevent them.
It may sound a little heavy for the workplace, but it really comes down to the idea of removing temptation. And a clearly labelled lunchbox, computer, hardhat or other item is a far less tempting target than a non-labelled one.
If anti-theft is your primary concern, there are labels with a strong security focus, leaving a checkerboard pattern behind if they are peeled off.
Put your mark on it
While your mum may have been a fan of simply scrawling your name onto a bit of masking tape and sticking it on your lunchbox, these days professional labels are tough, affordable and easy to print at home.
We all do our best to stay safe and secure at work, so why not extend that vigilance to your gear? You’ll save yourself (and your team) from embarrassing mistakes, ensure you always eat the right lunch and avoid the cost and hassle of replacing items that have gone missing.