Companies Cracking the Whip on Employees Who Shop Online at Work

E-commerce has become fun and easy. Too fun and easy perhaps.

Already contnding with social media use (or abuse?) in the workplace, employers now must deal with their staff shopping on company time, particularly now during the holidays. 57% of chief information officers interviewed by Robert Half Technology said their companies block access to online shopping sites—up dramatically from 40 per cent last year. And another 30% said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use, again up from last year.

The CIOs whose firms allow online shopping said they expect employees to spend 2 hours per week, on average, surfing for deals this holiday season. That’s an average of $46 cost to the company. 26% allowed this unrestricted access in 2010 but just 12% allow it this year.

“While some companies look the other way when employees browse retail sites in moderation, many are restricting this access altogether,” said Lara Dodo, a Canadian regional vice-president of Robert Half Technology. “This may prompt some employees to shop on their mobile devices while at the office. Workers should use their sound judgment when spending time on non-related business activities, as excessive use can be seen as a red flag for employers.”

But can employers block mobile commerce if the employees are BYODing?