To frugal shoppers, Cyber Monday is the answer to Black Friday, without the hassle of the traffic, the long times, and the potential of being trampled by a crowd of overzealous shoppers. Human Resources professionals, however, see Cyber Monday shopping at work as a threat to workplace productivity. After all, much of Cyber Monday shopping occurs at work on company-owned devices.
Almost half of employees (49 percent) typically shop from work on Cyber Monday, and 36 percent say they have taken a day off to shop, according to Robert Half Technology, a California-based staffing agency.
In its 2016 survey, Robert Half Technology also found that employees take time throughout the workday to shop:
When Robert Half Technology asked employees to recall how and when they’ve shopped at work, here’s what they said. Some employees –
- …shop on their lunch break.
- …shop when they’re bored.
- …shop while spending time with their co-workers.
- …shop during conference calls or in-person meetings.
Some bosses aren’t happy. Apparently, fed up with the distractions offered by online shopping at work, employers have taken to firing employees for “non-work related activity.”
Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer at CareerBuilder.com believes in taking a more holistic approach towards employees spending company time and resources on Cyber Monday shopping at work. He says online shopping shouldn’t be a problem as long as it doesn’t impede employee productivity.
This year’s Cyber Monday deals could cost employers over $500 million in lost productivity. Telling employees to not shop at work is pointless, so what should HR do?
Should HR allow Cyber Monday shopping at work?
So, it’s not practical to block shopping sites. Instead, companies should set up computers specifically for employees to shop while at work. Although there’s always the added concern of credit card information being stolen on a shared computer and that an employee may steal another’s information.
At the end of the day, HR should refrain from forcing employees to feel like they have to sneak around to snag Cyber Monday online specials. Employees should be encouraged to manage their time and productivity.
Note to would-be malingerers:
- Turns off all distractions such as cellphone notifications regarding discounts through the day.
- Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. This way, you don’t waste the entire day browsing deals on the Internet. You may be surprised to learn how focused and productive you can be when you give yourself self-imposed deadlines.
- Multitasking can result in lost time and productivity. Rather, commit to a single task before moving onto the next project. If you plan to spend 20 minutes shopping on Cyber Monday at work then do it and then move on to focus on the next project.