Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Shopping at work costs dear

Donald C McFetridge
Donald C McFetridge

According to a new survey, conducted by Give As You Live, the average worker in the UK spends approximately 96 hours per year shopping online while at work.

While the statistics will probably come as nothing of a surprise, it may well cause employers to prick up their ears and start more proactively to try to prevent this sort of activity.

The results show that one third of employees surveyed have openly admitted to shopping online, while supposed to be working, with an average of 24 minutes out of every working day spent browsing online shopping sites.

Not unexpectedly, there are regional differences in the amount of time spent, with workers in Leicester spending the most time shopping online at work (45 minutes 44 seconds) closely followed by staff in Glasgow (43 minutes 11 seconds).

Interestingly, workers in London spend 23 minutes 51 seconds, while Nottingham is the city with the lowest amount of time (14 minutes 43 seconds).

This is a worrying trend, as the statistics demonstrate there has been a 14% increase in the number of transactions carried out between 9am and 5pm from January to July, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.

The data shows that workers are spending a startling average of £77.49 when shopping online during a typical nine to five shift, with Monday mornings at 11am being the most popular time to make a purchase at work. The top two retailers in the survey are Tesco and Marks & Spencer, while Next, Sainsbury's and John Lewis also figure prominently.

Workers complain that there simply aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done and many don't feel in the least bit guilty carrying out what they consider to be "life maintenance" tasks, like shopping, at work. It seems that, just like in other areas of workers' lives, when the going gets tough at work, the tough go shopping – only on their bosses' time.

  • Donald C McFetridge is a retail analyst at the Ulster Business School, University of Ulster

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