Black Friday – productivity can plummet

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Black Friday – productivity can plummet

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Love it or hate it, the Black Friday sales event seems to get bigger every year.

And with so many UK retailers now participating, offering discounts on big-budget electrical items, health and beauty products to kitchen equipment and clothes, it’s not surprising that consumers are tempted to spend a few pennies in the run-up Christmas.

The UK’s online shoppers spent £1.49bn on Black Friday in 2018. With this in mind, do you know how much time your employees are spending browsing the internet for Black Friday (or Cyber Monday!) deals?

You may choose to allow employees to surf the net in search of some Black Friday bargains – if you do, it’s important to be consistent with all staff and communicate clearly what is expected. If you have an agile working culture, and employees are performing, and work when they are needed, is there a problem with Black Friday researching and purchasing during the workday?

What can you do if Black Friday starts to affect productivity?

  • it’s important to ensure that you have company policies in place on internet use and social media during working hours
  • if employees are spending an unacceptable amount of time online either using a work computer or via their personal mobiles, it’s important to remind them of the company policy
  • it may also be useful to remind staff of such policies in advance to avoid having to go through it on the day.

Another consideration is managing cybersecurity over the four-day sale event. Employees using the corporate network for personal use should be vigilant about where they purchase items and should not store any payment card details. It is important that employees are aware of best practices to keep in mind while online shopping – if the company computer system is exploited serious issues can occur and productivity could come to a halt altogether if the system is down because of a bug.

For those who work in retail, Black Friday can be one of the busiest days of the year. The staff working during the event may be facing long, busy days and difficult customers in addition to memorising and divulging various new products and sale promotions. Therefore, it’s crucial that employers prepare ahead to reduce possible increased stress levels felt by staff. Some ways of achieving this are:

  • ensure employees are aware of the upcoming event and provide any additional training in advance
  • communicate the company’s Black Friday goals with everyone involved – being on the same page will create a feel-good working environment
  • managers should help as much as possible, where possible
  • recognition – working a sales event comes with lots of pressure so rewarding staff to thank them for their efforts whether it be of monetary value or keeping staff fuelled with food and refreshments will go a long way
  • hire temporary employees if needed.

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