Black Friday will be with us at the end of this week. We imported this tradition from the USA for the first time properly last year and it looks set to continue. Prices slashed for one day only to get the Christmas spending up and away.

But how does a business deal with last minute absentee employees, all suffering with an 'unexpected tummy bug', 'migraine' or 'back pain'? I would suggest in the same way that a circular comes round just before the Christmas party season kicks off or there is a football world cup in a different time zone meaning matches are played in the afternoon GMT.

A brief note to staff that if they want Friday off work they must request it beforehand and not everyone can elect to have that day off. You could also suggest that if anyone has a last minute sickie, the circumstances will be investigated.

It's a bit killjoy, but an office can't close down because everyone's out snapping up 50" TVs.

Dealing with this ahead of time should avoid too many Blue Mondays.