Most businesses look forward to Valentine’s Day as the next big-bucks occasion following the holiday period. People are still reeling from their holiday spends in January, but come mid-February they are ready to pull out the plastic again to spend their hard earned cash on gifts for that special someone in their life. What many people outside the retail industry don’t realise, however, is that the lovers’ feast can actually be a big drain on productivity and a security threat at the workplace. Below are five things you should look out for tomorrow when love goes to most of your employees’ heads.

1. Social media

The first, and most obvious, time waster is social media. Employees are guaranteed to be on the look-out for messages from people they like or love, and the slightly more nosy ones will be spending an entire day stalking their exes or taking note of which couples profess their love for each other publicly on Valentine’s Day.

2. Chatting

The more cautious employees will not display their love publicly because it would give them away to their colleagues and bosses, however they might still spend the day chatting away with their better half on Google chat, Facebook chat, or any other type of IM. Valentine’s Day is also a special day for chat portals – those tend to slip between most network admins’ fingers.

3. Shopping for gifts

Oops, forgot to buy your other half a gift? Why not look for something while at the office? Shopping for gifts online is practical and easy. And if your employee is looking for a racy gift, it saves them the embarrassment of choosing it in public. But, apart from the waste of time, does this open your business up to any additional risks?

4. Planning the night

A number of individuals will spend the day “researching  new ideas” for that special night. Again, this is not only a big waste of time, but can also have legal and security implications on your business, because it is very easy for employees to land on pornographic and malware-ridden sites when they are searching around the darker underworld of the Internet.

5. Security

On a day like Valentine’s Day, it is much easier for people to fall for phishing scams and unwanted malware downloads. Scammers will play on people’s desires to feel loved and special. As a result there is a much higher chance of them clicking on malicious content when they receive an email with an attachment purporting to be a card from someone anonymous.   So before thinking of your own loved one, it might be wise to consider plugging any holes you might have in your company’s productivity and security solutions. Using advanced web filtering and monitoring software will help put your mind at ease by protecting you from time wasters and cyber-criminals. The latest programs allow you to manage the amount of time users can browse non-work-related websites, block chat clients and protect you from phishing and malware downloads.

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