Ruth Mitchell

Online Christmas shopping set to cost businesses £5 billion

As the festive season approaches, workers could cost businesses up to £5 billion as online discounts tempt workers to shop from their desks.

Around 13% of all Christmas shopping will be done online this year as people search for the best deals.

While this will come as good news for online retailers, the Office of National Statistics has found that many workers will spend between 30 minutes and an hour of each working day reading discount emails and shopping around for the best offers.

These offers are often only valid for a short period of time, meaning workers must respond as soon as they receive the email.

Head of employment law at ELAS Peter Mooney believes that lost time on these websites could cost UK Plc up £5.3 billion in lost time, working on an average hourly wage of £12.60.

He commented: “Every year, more people are going online for Christmas presents, and even those who don’t will end up spending hours window shopping on the internet.

“If this was restricted to people’s lunch hours, then most employers would have no complaint, but it’s not.

“In fact, even those who leave the office and shop on the High Street during their lunch hours have already spent valuable time in the morning looking for ideas or comparing prices from their desks when they should be working.”

He is now encouraging employers to introduce a simple internet policy to prevent time wasting in the office.

Peter added: “No boss wants to shoot a hole through goodwill and office morale by playing Scrooge in the office, but this time adds up and, in reality, costs money.”

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