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Girl Scout Cookie Policy at Work: Poor Taste?

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By Andrew Lu on March 22, 2013 10:28 AM

It's Girl Scout cookie time, and you have no doubt seen the treats being sold outside local grocery stores, on street corners, and even in the workplace. So should you have a Girl Scout cookie policy at work?

Forbidding sales altogether may seem drastic, or in poor taste. But the reality is that this type of activity may be unwanted in the workplace, and could even hurt your business.

Here's a look at three reasons you may want to enact a policy to restrict Girl Scout cookie sales at work:

  1. To limit solicitation of coworkers. You may have no problem with selling Girl Scout cookies at work. After all, it may not be that intrusive, and it's for a good cause. But how about someone selling magazines as a side business or even a union selling the benefits of membership? You go down a slippery slope when you allow certain types of solicitation at work but not others. Thus, the safest solicitation policy may be a no solicitation policy, BizFilings.com suggests.

  2. To limit personal use of company time. Work time should be work time, JobDig.com reminds us. You are aware that employees will spend time on non-productive matters like gossiping around the water cooler or surfing the Internet. However, if you allow them to also sell Girl Scout cookies and other goods at work, you may be wondering how much time is actually being spent for your company's benefit.

  3. To limit infringement on corporate opportunities. In some cases, your employee's solicitation may overlap with your own business at hand. For example, if you run a store that sells cookies, you probably don't want your employees placing their own cookies out for sale to your customers, even if they're Girl Scout cookies.

It can be difficult to implement a Girl Scout cookie policy at work, especially if you have workers already selling them. The policy may be unpopular and make you seem heavy-handed. However, if you explain your decision and draft a policy that's fair, your decision should be respected.

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