Managing employee productivity on Black Friday

With retailers slashing prices significantly on Black Friday, it may be almost too irresistible for some employees not to indulge in some online shopping. 

This may mean that some of your employees are surreptitiously (or even overtly) checking their smart phone to hunt for the best bargains available. Some employees may even be using their work computer or mobile phone to buy everything on their wish list.

So what can you do to make sure your employees remain productive?

It’s useful to send a memo around to all employees, reminding them of the rules on the permitted use of personal mobile phones in the workplace.

In your Employee Handbook, many employers state while on the work premises and during normal working hours, personal mobile phones must be turned off or on silent mode. This type of approach means that employees have their lunch or other rest breaks to surf the net and buy some goodies.

You may have rules on whether employees should be allowed to keep their phone in their pocket or on their desk, or whether they must have them leave them in a locker room, staff room or a place where they can store their other belongings. If their phones are not within touching distance, they will not be tempted to have a quick look to see what discounts are available.

It’s important to also draw your employees’ attention to your rules on internet, email and computers at work. Whilst some occasional personal use during rest breaks may be tolerated, your policy should make it clear that work systems are for business use and excessive personal use is not permitted.

In your Employee Handbook, you should also make it clear that employees should have no legitimate expectation of privacy when using their work email, internet or computer systems and those systems are subject to monitoring. Employers should reserve the right to look at the contents of all incoming and outgoing emails and the history of the web pages browsed using work devices for the purposes of ensuring that the employee is acting in accordance with company rules and policies. Find out more about employee monitoring here.

Reminding them of these key rules should act as a good deterrent from hours of wasted time and lost productivity. If employees know there may be some consequences from breaking the rules, they will be more reluctant to break them!

Keeping productivity levels up

In the run up to Christmas, it is often the case that employees’ productivity dips, so you may need to think about some creative ways to keep your employees engaged. For example, you may introduce some form of incentive scheme or bonus to get them working hard until the end of the year. Alternatively, you may get them thinking about upcoming fun events, such as the work Christmas party.

If you require any assistance on your workplace rules or how to incentivise your workforce to remain productive, seek advice and support from one of our Employment Law Advisers.

Director of Legal Services

James Tamm

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