The acceptance, prohibition or restriction of the receipt of purchases at the office must form part of the company’s internal policies, clearly indicating its position in advance so that employees know what the situation is and so as to organize the use of company resources that this may require.

With Black Friday just days away, marking the start of the Christmas shopping season, e-commerce becomes again one of the platforms preferred by consumers, both due to the limited time which they have to go to traditional stores, and because of the facilities of every kind being offered by internet shopping.

This increasing growth in e-commerce is requiring numerous employers to devote part of their resources -human and space- to receiving and keeping their employees’ personal packages. The workplace has become the ideal location to receive those purchases, among other reasons, because of the limited use of collection points and because the restrictions on the choice of delivery times of purchases as well as the working hours existing in Spain mean that home is not the ideal place to send them, given the uncertainty about whether there will be someone to receive the courier.

As these practices become widespread, employers must consider how to address the situation, because we already know that the boundary between practices which are merely consented to and vested rights is not very clear, especially in the case of repeated practices over time which are known and consented to by the employer.

Acquiescence or tolerance in relation to the workplace being the place of delivery and collection of personal packages may become a more beneficial condition which may be demanded by employees and, above all, one that cannot be unilaterally eliminated by the employer.

Therefore, the acceptance, prohibition or restriction of this type of behavior should be the subject of express regulation in which the company, as part of its internal policies, clearly indicates its position in advance so that employees know what the situation is and, especially, so as to organize the use of company resources (time and space) that this activity may require.

In this respect, while, on the one hand, the use of company resources which this type of practices involves is undeniable, on the other hand, the emotional aspects relating to these situations must also be taken into account (as well as the inherent satisfaction of receiving a package) which, to a certain extent, can be considered to contribute to balancing work and personal life, making the workplace not only the place where services are rendered, but also a shared space which forms part of our daily routine and of our personal environment.

Flexibility, reasonableness, compromise and moderation are aspects to be considered when addressing a coherent policy which takes account of the fact that workers are still people (and have personal and social needs) when they cross the threshold to enter the workplace.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Gómez

Labor and Employment Department of Garrigues