Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/10/30/xmas_online_shopping/

Online Xmas shopping costs employers £7bn

Ho ho woe

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in CIO, 30th October 2006 13:08 GMT

With Christmas just eight weeks away, the boom in online shopping could cost businesses an estimated £7bn as staff fill up their stockings and neglect work, according to the Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS).

It said that more than two million people have taken up online shopping in the past 12 months with sales expected to hit £9bn.

But with Christmas present needs just a few clicks away, elbows are increasingly being rested on workplace desks rather than fighting their way through embattled high street shoppers in search of last-minute presents.

It's not good news for business: "For many employers, every hour a member of staff spends looking for Christmas presents online is an hour they should have spent working," said Peter Mooney of ELAS.

The employment law experts advise that businesses put an internet policy in place to minimise time spent shopping online during work hours.

"By outlining what is and what is not acceptable during work time, employers not only remind their staff not to abuse work systems, but give themselves a solid basis on which to take action whenever anyone oversteps the mark," said Mooney.®