Bloxx, a enterprise web filtering specialist, today warned that the continued dramatic growth of online shopping could end up costing British businesses millions of pounds in lost productivity in the run up to Christmas.
The Retail Association revealed this year that online sales reached £10.9B last year1, growing 13 times faster than the overall retail sector.
With the Christmas shopping frenzy now starting in earnest and remaining throughout the rest of the year, the cost to UK businesses due to staff spending inordinate amounts of time shopping online during working hours could be huge.
According to the Business Software Alliance, 46% of online shopping happens during working hours, and whilst some of this will be business related, there is strong evidence to suggest that personal online shopping during working hours is a growing problem.
Working on an average of just one hour spent shopping online during the working week and using an average hourly wage of £12.502, Bloxx estimates that UK employers could stand to loose £260 million a week in lost productivity.
"Not many companies will be so mean as to not allow their employees some time to do their Christmas shopping," comments Bloxx Sales and Marketing Director Paul Irvine. "However, 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."
To address the problem, employers need to act now - before the Christmas shopping season gets underway - by ensuring that they have a comprehensive Internet Use Policy in place.
"Companies need to ensure that they have a clear Acceptable Use Policy for Internet usage during working hours and ensure that this is communicated regularly to employees," added law firm Pinsent Masons' Partner Kirsty Ayre. "Employees need to know what is acceptable and what the consequences could be for breaking the policy."