Online Shopping at Work? Most Firms Say OK

Menlo Park, Calif. — Nov. 13

A new survey suggests companies are a little more lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours.

Only 33 percent of chief information officers 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.

Just 10 percent reported that their firms allow unrestricted access, according to the survey.

Robert Half Technology offers 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.

Source: Robert Half Technology