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E-commerce surge to impact workplace productivity

22 November 2011 - 14:05 by Sarah Collinson

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This year the boom in safe shopping online is expected to hit businesses across the UK with losses of up to £5 billion, as a result of reduced productivity, as consumers try to get their retail fix during working hours, according to the Centre for Retail Research.

Monday of this week is being billed as the busiest 24 hour period for e-commerce in the whole of 2011 and it is no surprise to see that analysts are predicting workers will put a halt to their activities while they browse for bargains on the web.

Analyst, Peter Mooney, explained that in many cases, people would spend hours online at work while looking for gifts and then end up failing to buy any items whatsoever.

Mr Mooney said that in the past there has been a trend of workers taking time out of their lunch break to carry out safe shopping online, or indeed waiting until the working day is over before staying on to shop in peace.

However, he believes that the growth of short term deal sites like Groupon are causing more people to take advantage of offers as soon as possible, thus eating into the early hours of the working day and sapping productivity.

It is anticipated that average employees will shop for half an hour each day outside of their designated breaks.

Mr Mooney admitted that few managers would chastise workers during the season of good will, but he advises that those in charge should encourage restrictions on e-commerce usage at work over Christmas.

Of course these figures for lost earnings are based on the idea that workers will slack off for 30 minutes and then never make up the time at a later point. Each year similar studies are published, but it could be argued that the potential impact is inflated.