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Shopping At Work? Most Firms Say OK

Fewer Companies Restrict Employees' Online Holiday Shopping

Nov 13, 2012

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Just in time for Cyber Monday, a new survey suggests companies are a little more lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours. Only one-third (33 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) 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. One in 10 (10 percent) reported that their firms allow unrestricted access.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, "What is your company's policy regarding employees shopping online while at work?" Their responses:



2011

2012


Block access to online shopping sites

60%

33%


Allow access but monitor for excessive use

23%

55%


Allow unrestricted access

13%

10%


Other/don't know

4%

2%


Total

100%

100%

"Many businesses acknowledge the need for flexibility during the hectic holiday season and allow some online shopping at work, within reason," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. The reality, said Reed, is that allowing employees to tackle personal to-do lists at work can help maintain productivity because workers are spared the traffic delays and long lines that accompany holiday crowds.

Reed advises professionals to exercise caution when shopping at work, however, and avoid spending excessive time on non-business activities, which can raise a red flag for employers.

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.

About Robert Half Technology
With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at www.rht.com. Follow Robert Half Technology at www.twitter.com/RobertHalfTech.

SOURCE Robert Half Technology

For further information: Joshua Brost, +1-650-234-6249, joshua.brost@rhi.com


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