- Amazon's annual "Prime Day," a 30-hour shopping spree for exceptional deals, potentially cost employers $10 billion in lost productivity, Business Insider reports.
- Employees likely were distracted by the massive sales day, says Business Insider. But it also probably cut into the time they spend on Reddit, Facebook and other social media platforms while at work.
- Prime Day's popularity reflects the growth in online shopping in recent times and an expansion beyond the traditional Black Friday structure (which, of course, also creates distractions at work).
Employers might weigh how Amazon's Prime Day stacks up against Black Fridays, presidential elections, Super Bowl betting, March Madness and other activities that take employees minds off their jobs. Productivity losses appear largely harmless when calculated within a 24-hour time span, but they can do significant financial damage when seen as quarter-year calculations.
By openly acknowledging that certain activities will distract employees while on the job, employers can remind them of their daily responsibilities, such as meetings to attend, deadlines to meet and quotas to fill. However, some events, such as March Madness or Prime Day, can be a way of creating camaraderie among workers as long as they know the time limits on these activities.
Written polices that address excessive use of computers for non-work-related activity also might be necessary. Employers shouldn't hesitate to enforce these restrictions when excessive use occurs.