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Black Friday expected to cost UK businesses millions

The online sales bonanza that is & lsquo;Black Friday’ could cost the UK economy millions of pounds in lost productivity, as employees attempt to grab a pre-Christmas bargain during work time.

With popular retailers such as Amazon, Apple, Asda and Debenhams expected to dramatically drop their prices on November 29, employment expert ELAS is warning businesses to be vigilant or risk losing valuable hours.

This annual event has been a popular post-Thanksgiving treat for Americans for years and it is now gathering momentum in the UK, as more home-grown brands get ready to offer a stream of massive discounts to tempt shoppers over the festive period.

A reported &pound200 million was spent by UK consumers during last year’s Black Friday and ELAS consultant, Enrique Garcia, says: “The sheer volume of sales taking place during Black Friday indicates that a lot of time is being spent making online purchases. We understand that Christmas shopping can be both hectic and stressful and that Black Friday discounts and offers are tempting, but browsing and buying during contracted working hours isn’t the answer.

“Using the internet to shop on Black Friday could cost UK businesses millions of pounds in lost productivity, not to mention having a workforce that isn’t fully engaged with the job at hand.

“We would advise, from an HR perspective, that employers have a clear internet policy in place, before ensuring that it is implemented appropriately and the proper training is given, with disciplinary steps taken should the need arise.

“It’s also a good idea to have engaged content filters on work computers to prevent employees from accessing retail websites. To keep up morale, staff could be allowed to access their favourite sites during breaks, with firewalls lifted during those periods only. Alternatively, employees can use some of their annual leave allowance to go shopping,” adds Enrique.

ELAS points out that another important thing to consider is the delivering of parcels to work addresses. Large companies, whose post intake generates a lot of administration on a daily basis, could discover that vital hours are being lost as a result of sorting packages that are not work-related.

“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,” Enrique concludes.


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