Black Friday is a great day for the retail industry, there’s no denying it – but it can cause a lot of disruption due to lack of focus at work.
Employees can often spend long hours online trawling deals to get their Christmas shopping done on a budget – costing employers valuable time. How can that be helped? Read on to find out everything you need to know with tips given by Kate Palmer, head of advisory at Peninsula HR, the employment law and health & safety consultancy.
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving in the US where shops go all out on mega sales to try and entice holidayers away from the comforts of leftover turkey and back into the shops.
Black Friday is a bit like Boxing day in the UK in terms of sales and deals. It has now run over into Cyber Monday with deals now lasting as long as a week.
Why is Black Friday bad for employers?
The nature of Black Friday means a lot of the deals are found online, via a mobile. They are also quite often flash deals meaning people need to keep an eye out for the best sales that can sometimes last as little as a few minutes, depending on popularity and stock.
All this shopping shifts the focus of staff meaning they’re likely not doing their jobs as well as they might normally.
How can employers keep staff productivity up on Black Friday?
Even if there is already a mobile phone usage policy in place and rules about checking personal emails and visiting shopping websites, it may not work on Black Friday. Many staff see the day as a special occasion where the rules can be bent a little.
If you don’t want the rules bent or broken then sending a memo out before the day, to remind staff that the rules remain in place on Black Friday, can be helpful. Advising them that they will be monitored during the day is another way to ensure focus remains on work. Monitoring internet usage can be a breach of privacy rights so be sure all staff are notified of any monitoring with a good policy and alert memos.
Some staff may take a sick day to avoid work and get shopping done freely. Of course at this cold time of year they may just be sick. Treading cautiously here is imperative to ensure a good relationship. Schedule a meeting for their first day back to discuss the time off and make sure they are fully recovered and weren’t lying. If their story here doesn’t match the report they gave on the phone or email then formal action can be taken.
Another, more modern approach, would be to allow staff some time to take advantage of Black Friday. Perhaps setting aside a period of time where shopping is allowed. Or, if the monitoring system in place is advanced enough, staff could be given an hour of the day to take as they please to shop flexibly online.