Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving where many Americans start their Christmas shopping, is taking place on the 24th November 2017. Whilst being fairly new to the UK, many retailers have embraced the day and a number of shops now offer week-long discounts and flash sales to entice shoppers looking for a deal.
Employees may use their mobile phones throughout Black Friday to check up on their emails, follow flash sales or purchase items on their personal accounts. Although only taking a few minutes at a time, each minute will add up to a large amount of time lost throughout the working day. To combat this, in the lead up to Black Friday, your clients can remind staff about the company rules on personal mobile phone use during working hours. This can be through re-sending the company’s mobile phone policy to staff or by sending an email or notice to all. This will reinforce the rules about mobile phone use and will deter staff from shopping during working time. It can also smooth the way for your clients to take appropriate action if they find an employee breaking the rules, as it will be difficult for them to claim they were unaware of the company’s stance.
In addition to personal mobile phones, your clients’ staff may use their company devices or internet access for sale shopping. As well as reminding staff about the rules, where internet or email monitoring is going to be carried out, all members of staff should be advised of this in advance. They should be informed how monitoring will be carried out and the extent of this. A failure to inform employees about monitoring could breach their right to privacy.
Another issue your clients may face on Black Friday is a number of employees ringing in ill. Whilst sale-savvy shoppers are likely to have booked their time off work to grab a bargain, others may not have got their request in early enough or may simply have forgotten about Black Friday. The obvious conclusion to jump to is that staff are faking illness, however, this may not be the case. Your clients should arrange a return to work meeting with the employee after their absence to discuss this. The meeting will provide the opportunity for your client to ask for the reason for their absence face to face and, if following this they believe the employee has lied, they can then take formal action.