CHICAGO, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. firms could lose $488.4 million as employees shop online on Cyber Monday, the kickoff of the U.S. holiday online-shopping season, a report said Tuesday.
But unless online shopping causes deadlines to be missed or Internet performance to suffer, "companies should not attempt to crack down on the practice" even if a supervisor "walks in on an employee researching the latest DVD players on Amazon.com," outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.
Doing so could hurt morale and loyalty, "which ultimately will have a greater impact on the bottom line than a few minutes of cybershopping," Chief Executive Officer John Challenger said.
"In the real world, workers are not paid by the minute and are not expected to be producing output -- whatever that may be -- every minute of every day," Challenger said.
"If someone actually misses a deadline on Cyber Monday, chances are that employee has bigger issues than online shopping," he said.
A U.S. employer loses an average $7.12 for every 12 minutes an employee shops online, Challenger Gray said.
But that employee could also make an extended trip to the restroom or take a smoking break or run down the block to get an iced latte with that time, the Chicago firm said.
Cyber Monday has evolved into a significant marketing event, in which online retailers offer low prices and promotions.