From American Express’ OPEN Forum (full text):
If it seems like there’s a whole lot less work getting done around your office, blame the Christmas spirit.
Almost half (49 percent) of employees said they expect to spend part of the workday online shopping this holiday season, according to a CareerBuilder survey.
Surfing While Working?
The survey was conducted pre-Black Friday, and more than half of the respondents said they planned to shop from work either the Friday after Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday. Did they? Well, Internet sales were up 36 percent on Black Friday and 30 percent on Cyber Monday. Online sales peaked at 11:25 a.m. on Monday—the biggest Internet shopping day ever, according to Reuters—suggesting if people were shopping, they were doing it on company time.
Even if you’ve barred certain websites—53 percent of those surveyed have—employees can get around that with their mobile devices: More than 18 percent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site on Cyber Monday, up more than 70 percent from 2011.
Getting into the Holiday Spirit (and Staying There)
Not surprisingly, the likelihood that employees are shopping instead of working becomes greater the closer it gets to Christmas. Thirty percent said they’d be most likely to shop from work after Dec. 7. More women (43 percent) than men (36) have hit the Internet to shop from their desks at work.
According to the survey, just 25 percent of those responsible for hiring have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work-related activity, but just 7 percent have fired anyone for ticking gifts off their list during work.
“Employers tend to be more lenient when it comes to workers using breaks or down time to get online and—in some cases—take care of some online shopping,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “However, it is the employee’s responsibility to know and adhere to their company’s policy regarding Internet usage.”