Posted November 16, 2012 by

Smaller Number of CIOs Limiting Workers from Online Shopping During the Holidays

Some companies are softening their stances when it comes to employees shopping online this holiday season.

Just in time for Cyber Monday, a new survey suggests companies are a little more lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours. Only one-third (33 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed by staffing firm Robert Half Technology said their companies block access to online shopping sites – down from 60 percent last year. Another 55 percent said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. One in 10 (10 percent) reported that their firms allow unrestricted access.

CIOs were asked, “What is your company’s policy regarding employees shopping online while at work?” Their responses:

                                                                                                      2011                       2012                                           

Block access to online shopping sites                                             60%                        33%

Allow access but monitor for excessive use                                     23%                        55%

Allow unrestricted access                                                                13%                        10%       

Other/don’t know                                                                               4%                          2%

Total                                                                                               100%                     100%    

 

John Reed

John Reed, Senior Executive Director of Robert Half Technology

“Many businesses acknowledge the need for flexibility during the hectic holiday season and allow some online shopping at work, within reason,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. The reality, said Reed, is that allowing employees to tackle personal to-do lists at work can help maintain productivity because workers are spared the traffic delays and long lines that accompany holiday crowds.

Reed advises professionals to exercise caution when shopping at work, however, and avoid spending excessive time on non-business activities, which can raise a red flag for employers.

The following are five tips for employees who might shop online from the office this holiday season:

1) Know the rules. If your employer allows shopping at work, know your company’s policy, including sites or hours to avoid, before searching for deals online.

2) Limit surfing. A liberal computer use policy is no excuse to spend the day filling your online shopping cart. Do your browsing out of the office and limit your activity to quick transactions.

3) Be smart about using your Smartphone. Mobile devices may allow you to get around a strict online shopping policy, but always put work first.

4) Score some deals after work. No online promotion is worth putting your career at risk. If you have projects that require immediate attention, save your holiday shopping for the evening or weekend.

5) Protect your personal information. If a holiday offer looks too good to be true, it likely is. Avoid clicking on links or visiting sites that could infect your company’s network with viruses or malware.

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