Employees’ online shopping could cost businesses nearly £2bn in productivity between now and Christmas, according to web filtering specialist Bloxx. Online sales hit nearly £11bn last year, and about half of this of that was done at work. If we all spend just one hour a week shopping online, Bloxx reckons that the total cost to business (based on an average salary of £26k) will be about £260m a week.
‘With the addictive nature of online shopping, it can be all too easy for employees to get carried away and end up spending hours online during the working day,’ said Bloxx director Paul Irvine, no doubt struggling to take his eyes off an eBay auction.
The (slightly killjoy) Bloxx solution is to get everyone in your business signed up to a new and improved Acceptable Use Policy, which makes it clear what they can and can’t do on the internet during the day – and then coming down hard when people break the rules.
Of course, employers are not the only ones hoping to cure our addiction to online shopping. High-street retailers are also hoping that the Christmas rush will bring about a change of fortunes after a miserable few months – only this week the CBI revealed that high street sales growth was at its slowest for almost a year in October.
The good news for them is that with the postal service so unreliable, the less dedicated online shopper may be wary of the virtual approach this year. So most of us will probably still be forced to brave the high street at some point in the coming weeks. Bah humbug.