Maintaining productivity on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

With most retailers offering huge discounts on products, can employees resist the urge to do their Christmas shopping while on the clock?

Last year UK shoppers splashed £1.1 billion on Black Friday and £968 million on Cyber Monday, up from £720 million in 2014.

Most employers have policies covering the use of office computers, internet and phones but all good employers will usually allow their employees some usage during lunch breaks, particularly in the run up to Christmas. However it is worthwhile sending out an early memo to remind employees of these rules and the fact that breaches of these policies can easily lead to termination of employment in some cases. This is especially relevant for employees who have been with a company for less than two years, or those who are already on serious current warnings.

Employees should also be reminded that personal use during working times when they are being paid and accepting payment for this time is fraudulent. It could also cause complaints from clients due to delays in service which could bring the company into disrepute or cause loss of trade. In extreme cases this could, potentially, lead to redundancies. Any sensible employee should realise this and resist the urge to put their job at risk, considering the knock-on effect which this could have on their home lives.

Wasting time should not be tolerated

This year, retailers are expected to roll out promotions across the whole week in an effort to avoid the website meltdowns and in-store fights which we have seen in previous years. Potentially this could be good for employers as people will have more time to browse the deals outside of office hours, however some might be more distracted throughout the week looking to get the best deals. Nowadays everyone has a mobile phone and with the temptation right there at your fingertips, it’s important to let employees know that time wasting will not be tolerated.

Noone wants to have to take disciplinary action against an employee as a result of online shopping, but if the internet policy is repeatedly breached then we would recommended that they do so. Another thing for employers to be aware of following Black Friday and Cyber Monday is staff who have arranged to have their purchases delivered to their work address. This can be tempting in order to avoid missed deliveries at home but large companies whose post intake generates a lot of administration could quickly discover that they are losing vital hours as a result of sorting personal packages. Employers are well within their rights to ban this practice if they believe it is affecting productivity and they can do so by implementing a fair and equal blanket policy.

Geoff Isherwood is legal services manager at ELAS.

Further reading on Cyber Monday

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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