We made it through Black Friday. Whether you braved a crowd or two to snag a deal or simply browsed the piles of hard copy and electronic circulars it is unlikely that any shopping activity on November 27th affected workplace productivity. The next round of frenzy hits on Cyber Monday.
Shop.org, the online research arm of The National Retail Federation first described the Monday after Thanksgiving with the Cyber designation in 2005 after noticing the exponential jump in online buying on the day. Many shoppers waited until they got to their desk to log on for bargains and take advantage of high speed connections. The prevalence of broadband at home and a tough economy have made a small dent in this activity but four years later shop.org reports that more than 53% of shoppers will click submit to make a purchase at their desk. There’s no surprise in learning that the number jumps to more than 73% of younger workers, ages 18-24.
What’s an employer to do? Join in the fun and get as much shopping done as possible or ban the practice all together? Head for a reaction that is somewhere in between.
internet use policy. You may designate lunch and breaks as times to visit the virtual mall but check with IT first to make certain this does not cause an electronic traffic jam. The plan may also be stymied by the very nature of Cyber Monday deals with specials announced hourly and at the cybermonday.com web site devoted to the task.
Encouraging a bit of shopping can spread good will and allow an opportunity for small acts of charity. Many non-profits earn some revenue when a shopping trip starts at their site with a click on a special button or is directed from a specific page such as www.goodshop.com. An employee may also have a favorite vendor who sells goods that result in a charitable donation or benefit a needy community. Avoid a flurry of emails that recommend bargains by suggesting that employees post hot tips by the coffee pot.
Whatever you decide don’t wait until Monday evening and announce, “IT is reviewing online use. Anyone who shopped today will be disciplined.” Focus instead on the time that is saved by avoiding traffic jams in packed parking lots and stress reduction achieved when lists are completed and money is saved.