According to a CareerBuilder survey conducted by Harris Interactive, almost half (49%) of employees said they expect to spend part of the workday online shopping this holiday season. Furthermore, 39% of respondents said they are most likely to shop from work after December 7th. Facing such staggering statistics, is it realistic to expect employees to maintain a high-level of productivity?
Yes and no. During this time of year we have come accustom to scheduling around company sanctioned holiday lunches, parties and vacations. We fully realize that these activities will take away from regular work hours, but in the spirit of the holiday season it is acceptable. However, when it comes to doing personal errands and/or online shopping on company time, the stance can become fuzzy.
Companies have tired to combat this by putting in place Internet usage policies or blocking access to certain websites. But for a retailer, it is not practical to restrict employees from accessing other retail or social media sites, especially at a time when real-time data is so powerful. Instead, I believe retailers should be realistic. “Employers tend to be more lenient when it comes to workers using breaks or down time to get online and—in some cases—take care of some online shopping,” said Rosemary Haefner, VP of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.
More specifically, this is an optimal time for retailers to provide highly-coveted or rare discounts & promotions on certain brands/categories to their employees. Or even form a holiday store onsite. Both help to create a win-win scenario – employees are still shopping on company time but at your site as opposed to a competitor.