By tablet, smartphone or computer, at work or at home, more than 122 million Americans are expected to do some holiday shopping on Cyber Monday. As retailers hope for big returns, employers hope productivity does not fall off the charts today and throughout the season, with an executive saying companies regard it as more of a nuisance than even major sporting events.
The National Retail Federation estimates eight in 10 retailers will run promotions online today, and NRF affiliate Shop.org released a survey recently stating 76 million people would be searching for bargains from work.
Tim Mullane, regional vice president for Robert Half Technology, in New Jersey, said it’s not just Cyber Monday that has employers concerned — they’re worried about an entire Christmas season’s worth of productivity loss.
“The most telling thing we’ve seen this year is that 60 percent of chief information officers now have in place technology that will block access to online shopping sites, and that’s up 48 percent from last year,” Mullane said. “It shows how concerned companies are about the amount of productivity they’re losing this time of year.”
“What’s going on now is technology has improved so they can more easily monitor the traffic through the Internet,” Mullane said. “Where are my employees going, what are they looking at and how much time they are spending there became glaring … and they look at more than simply a one-day event, compared to a seasonal event. This is perhaps the biggest day of the year, but they’re looking at this as a two-month window.”
Mullane said other productivity killers — like fantasy football and NCAA Tournament bracket contests in the spring — are not regarded with the same contempt as online shopping.
“Most companies don’t block access to sports sites for fantasy football, which absolutely has an impact,” Mullane said. “In terms of reaction to something … it certainly is a bigger impact for blocking off online shopping sites as compared to things like fantasy football sites.”