Attention Bargain Shoppers: It’s Cyber Monday

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Today, reading TheWorkBuzz was probably a little lower on your Internet-browsing to-do list, and we’re OK with that. It’s Cyber Monday, and if you’re like many American workers, you probably have a different priority for the day: Bargain hunting.

Yes, you might be sitting in your cubicle.

Yes, your boss might be a mere few feet away.

But that doesn’t mean that — before you even check the 147 e-mails that piled up over the long weekend — you won’t score 50 percent off sweaters for your in-laws, take advantage of free shipping from your favorite big-box store, and maybe even snag a little deeply-discounted something for yourself. Cyber Monday is one of most notorious shopping days of the year, and not even being at work will keep determined shoppers away.

According to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 29 percent of workers say they plan to shop online today, with 27 percent planning to spend at least an hour shopping online, and 13 percent planning to spend two hours or more.

So how does the other 71 percent of the workforce resist the tempation to cash in on the year’s deepest discounts? It has to do with more than just willpower. According to the survey, company Internet monitoring may have something to do with it; nearly half of surveyed employers reported that they monitor employees’ online activity, and 50 percent reported that they block certain websites from employees at work.

If you do plan to shop at work, just be mindful of how much time you spend, says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

“Employees need to be aware of how much time they are spending online, regardless of the time of year,” says Haefner. “Most employers know that their employees may use some time during the workday for Internet shopping, non-work e-mails and other personal matters, but employees need to be mindful of whether their employer has specific guidelines in place restricting these behaviors.”

And while Cyber Monday may prompt a decrease in workplace productivity, using company time for personal matters isn’t something that is unique to the holiday season. The survey also asked employees about their Internet use during the rest of the year, and found that:

  • Thirteen percent of workers spent, on average, one hour or more on the Internet for non-work related activities each day at work
  • When it comes to e-mail, 59 percent of workers say they send non-work related messages during the day.
  • Sixteen percent of workers reported sending six or more personal e-mails during the day

While browsing the Internet during a lunch break or sending a personal e-mail here or there is tolerable for most employers, some employers take Internet indiscretions more seriously.

  • More than one-in-five employers have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activities.
  • Five percent of employers report that they’ve fired an employee for holiday shopping online at work.
  • Twenty five percent of employers monitor employees’ e-mails.
  • Nine percent of employers have fired someone for non-work related e-mails.

When it comes to holiday shopping online, it’s important to take company culture into account. If your company has a generally more relaxed atmosphere or Internet policy, you might be able to get away with more online gift-gathering at work. On the other hand, if your company blocks certain websites from use, or if someone in your office has ever been fired for Internet or e-mail misuse, it’s best to relegate your online shopping to your lunch break or after 5 PM.

Do you plan to shop at work today? Let us know in the comments section, below.

10 Comments
  1. I generally don’t shop online from work. Not because it’s forbidden – the boss doesn’t mind if it’s only done once in a while – but because their security software is from a crackerjack box!

    I know for a fact some coworkers visit questionable websites. Think about everything that may have crawled into the computer!

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