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Online Christmas shoppers could cost employers up to £5 billion

As Christmas approaches and the rush to buy presents begins, how can employers make sure that staff aren't surreptitiously shopping online?

The morning of Monday 29 November 2010 saw online sales figures skyrocket in what has become known as the 'cyber Monday' phenomenon, and retailers expect that this year will be no different. A recent survey carried out by car accessory, bike and leisure retailer Halfords shows that almost three-quarters of those questioned admitted that they would probably sneak online for a bit of Christmas shopping during the work day, in spite of it contravening their employer's policy on internet use.

Employment consultants ELAS estimate that businesses could lose anything up to £5 billion in the lead-up to Christmas this year, as tempting discounts and aggressive online marketing entice staff to shop online during office hours,. While blocking internet use isn't usually a viable option - with only 4 per cent of UK employers doing so - drawing up a policy to limit internet use at work could help save your business time and money over the festive season.

Acas offers a comprehensive guide to managing internet use in the workplace and provides training for employers on staff surveillance and internet abuse.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions page for more information.

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