Most Companies Don’t Actually Care if You Do Personal Online Shopping at Work Anymore

Conducting personal shopping online while at work seems like even more of a slap to the company’s metaphorical face than catching up with old school mates on Facebook.

But, apparently, a lot of organizations don’t actually care. At least anymore. That’s according to a recent survey from staffing firm Robert Half Technology, which reveals companies have become increasingly lenient with regards to personal e-commerce activities in the office.

Only 32% of chief information officers say their companies block access to online shopping sites, down dramatically from 57% last year. Another 54% said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. 12% of firms allow unrestricted access, the same as last year.

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“Many organizations are willing to offer more flexibility to their employees by permitting online shopping in the office during the busy holiday season,” said Lara Dodo, a regional vice-president of Robert Half Technology in Canada. “Allowing staff to tackle their personal to-do lists at work assists in maintaining overall productivity, as they are less likely to confront the long line-ups and traffic delays that go along with holiday crowds.”

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.

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