Black Friday – Dot Com havoc as holiday requests denied

• Peninsula receives 7,953 calls over the weekend, from panicked employers who have had to deny Black Friday holiday requests.

• 90% of employers fear that Internet shopping will wreak havoc in the office.

Peninsula Business Services, the UK’s leading employment law, HR and health & safety service provider has been inundated with calls from employers who have bombarded with holiday requests from their employees, all with the same reason, to hit the shops bargain hunting on Black Friday.
However, following the inability to grant a vast majority of these requests and with that fact that UK consumers are predicted to spend £12,384 every second online, employers now fear Internet shopping will send their offices into productivity meltdown.

Alan Price, Employment Law Director of Peninsula Business Services said today, “Black Friday has gone from an American tradition to a western phenomenon, taking the UK by storm last year and set to increase in size this year. Whilst this is positive news for the economy, what is not widely considered is how this excitement to grab a bargain will affect employers in terms of productivity due to employees surfing the net.”

“In my experience assisting companies of all sizes, employers often plan for the expected demand in annual leave surrounding main holiday times including Easter, Summer and Christmas, but it would appear that employers are completely caught off guard with employees wanting a day off to hit the shops in hopes of securing the latest goods at a bargain price.”

Price adds, “The concern employers are feeling is completely warranted, as it is impossible to accept every holiday request that comes their way, particularly all for the same day and managing employee’s Internet usage is something that requires constant attention. With the Internet being an integral tool in the working environment and with every employee having access to it, unauthorised conduct can spiral out of control and policing employees Internet usage can feel like an overwhelming task.”

“It is vital that employers ensure that their HR policies are up-to-date, covering all employee actions and behaviour with regards to Black Friday or any other major event. These are likely to include policies relating to absenteeism and Internet usage, specifically what websites employees can and can’t access. Communicating these policy updates to employees and making them aware of the consequences of not following the correct procedures, should help reduce the number of unauthorised conduct.”

“Remember, monitoring Internet usage is key. Having a policy is all well and good, but the work it took to put that in place will fall by the waist-side if employers do not devise a method to consistently observe how their employees are spending their time online.”

Price concludes, “We have all heard the saying by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail, well this definitely rings true in this situation. There is still time to prevent chaos from engulfing your office. Remember, a strong defence is the best offence. I would urge employers to start now by devising a plan of action, seeking advice if needs be to prevent a full-scale productivity meltdown.

Notes to editor:
• Peninsula is the UK’s leading employment law, HR and Health &Safety consultancy.
• Alan Price is the Employment Law Director of Peninsula with its headquarters in Manchester.
• Full trained HR professionals, providing advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, operate the Peninsula Advice Service.
• For further clarification please contact Dean Duggan on 0161 827 8511.