What has become known as “Black Friday”, when shops offer large discounts in-store and online, falls this week. Onbuy.com has carried out a study into online shopping on Black Friday and found that nearly 70% of employees will shop online whilst at work.
If productivity and possible breach of company rules is a concern, employers should ensure that staff understand what use of the internet is permitted during office hours. Rules on acceptable usage of computer systems at work are normally contained in an IT and Communications System Policy or Staff Handbook. This allows the employer to set what is and isn't acceptable and limit time-wasting and loss of productivity.
Misuse of the workplace IT systems is usually regarded as misconduct, particularly if there is a breach of a clearly communicated policy. In some cases it may amount to gross misconduct. Having a clear policy and ensuring employees' awareness and understanding of the policy will assist the employer should disciplinary action be necessary.
To help those employees wanting to take advantage of the slashed prices just before Christmas, gifting employees an hour or so of company time to enjoy the sales will ensure that when they return to their desk, they aren’t distracted by the thought of that discounted laptop and can get on with their work instead.