If you outlaw online shopping during the workday, you may want to look in the mirror.
A recent survey by CareerBuilder finds that senior-level employees (read: executives and managers) are the biggest culprits of online shopping during work hours. In fact, 53 percent of senior-level executives report online shopping during the workday, compared to 46 percent of entry-level and professional staff.
That said, online holiday shopping at work may not be the time and productivity drain managers fear: CareerBuilder found that the majority of people who shop online during working hours—58 percent—planned to spend less than one hour holiday shopping from work and 30 percent will spend one to three hours. Twelve percent planned to spend more than three hours.
Yet, the question remains: Even if online holiday shopping at work isn’t that big of a deal, should companies allow it?
Arguments can be made for both “yes” and “no” answers—but more managers are finding the benefits to being more lenient about letting employees use the Internet for personal reasons in the office.
Many people—managers and employees, alike—are strapped for time and stressed out around the holidays. Allowing employees to do a small amount of shopping from work can help them knock stuff off their to-do list and feel less stressed. (Upper Bay Counseling and Support Services has advice on how managers can help workers relieve stress around the holidays.)
Employees may also be happier if they feel their employer trusts them to use the Internet for personal reasons and manage their own time responsibly. Interestingly, CareerBuilder found that more than half of employers (53 percent) still block their employees from using the Internet at work and one in four (24 percent) have even fired someone for using the Internet for non-work activities.
However a recent survey by Robert Half Technology found that many companies are loosening their restrictions on Internet usage in the office. Some research has also suggested that “cyberloafing” by employees during the workday may improve employee productivity.
However, there are a couple reasons to consider limiting employees’ online shopping during the workday. For one, online shopping can pose IT security risks—especially if employees aren’t careful about where they’re browsing online. Companies may want to set some guidelines around online shopping and Internet usage in the office to ensure everyone’s on the same page and prevent misuse.
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