Up on the Rooftop, Click-Click-Click

Do employees shop online at the office? Half of workers surveyed said they intend to shop while at work this holiday season.

And, luckily, companies seem willing to let them click away, according to two recent surveys about online shopping on the job.

A CareerBuilder survey on Cyber Monday Internet usage found that nearly half (49%) of workers expected to spend “some time” in the office this holiday season shopping online, on par with past years.

More than a quarter of workers planned to shop from work either on Black Friday (12%) or Cyber Monday (16%), according to a survey of more than 2,400 employers and more than 3,900 workers nationwide conducted—of course—online by Harris Interactive.

Shopping from the office was said to be most common in the weeks leading up to December 25, with 30% of workers saying they were most likely to shop from work after December 7. The study also revealed that a higher percentage of women (43%) have shopped online while at the office compared with men (36%).

Among other findings:

  • A quarter of employers have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activity;
  • 7% of hiring managers have fired an employee for holiday shopping at work; and
  • 53% of employers block employees from accessing certain websites.

A survey from staffing firm Robert Half Technology suggests companies are also “a little more” lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours. Only one-third of more than 1,400 chief information officers from 100-plus employee companies nationwide surveyed said their companies block access to online shopping sites, down from 60% last year. Another 55% said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. One in 10 CIOS saidtheir firms allow unrestricted access.

Among tips for employees who might shop online from the office this season:

  • Know your company’s policy, including sites or hours to avoid, before searching for deals online.
  • Do your browsing out of the office and limit your activity to quick transactions.
  • Avoid links or sites that could infect your company’s network with viruses or malware.