Request denied: Black Friday to cause productivity disaster

Request denied: Black Friday to cause productivity disaster

Employers are rattled by the amount of holiday requests they have received from their staff for 27th November, or Black Friday as it's more commonly known.

According to Peninsula Business Services, an employment law and HR service, they have been inundated with calls from anxious managers asking how to deal with mass absences. The company received almost 8,000 calls this past weekend alone.

The sheer amount of holiday applications being submitted means that some bosses have had to deny their workers request.

Alan Price, Employment Law Director at Peninsula Business Services, explains the retail sensation, saying: “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.

“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. Managing employee’s internet usage is also 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.”

The report also detailed that 90% of employers feared that internet shopping would affect productivity massively over the Black Friday period. Price urged HR to ensure that employee’s contracts are up to date regarding proper internet usage. He explained: “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.

“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 wayside if employers do not devise a method to consistently observe how their employees are spending their time online.”

As for safeguarding staff welfare, Sarah Mandeville, Recruitment Manager at Gekko, told Executive Grapevine what HR can do in the lead up to the shopping frenzy. She commented: “In advance of all busy retail periods, preparation is key. By supplying staff with the company’s latest health and safety policy, as well as briefing the team accordingly, ensures all questions are answered to ease any anxieties among the team.

“Caught up in the stressful shopping scenes, it is important that the wellbeing of employees is always considered. By regularly checking-in with staff, store managers can ensure that their team is not taking on actions outside of their normal work duties that could conflict with health and safety.

“On top of this, they should also be actively encouraging their team to properly utilise break periods to ensure staff are not being overworked.”

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