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Nov. 28: Work day or shop-from-work day?

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Come November 28, will your colleagues be banging out a report or bargain hunting? According to a new survey of North American workers by staffing firm Robert Half Technology, there's a good chance it's the latter.

Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said they typically shop while in the office on Cyber Monday. Bosses may be the last to know about their staff members' browsing habits: Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of employees admit to minimizing their screens when a manager approaches during an online shopping session.

As for when workers are adding to their carts throughout the work day, results varied: 

  • 64 percent say they have used their lunch break to track down deals
  • 43 percent say they have surfed for bargains while bored on the job
  • 35 percent say they were lured to shop while searching online for something else

For some, bargain-hunting is a group sport and potential distraction:

  • 17 percent of respondents say they have shopped with coworkers
  • 8 percent confess to shopping while on conference calls and 3 percent during in-person meetings

View an infographic and slideshow of the research.

Most-Used Shopping Devices
Nearly one in four (39 percent) workers surveyed say they use a work-issued computer or device to shop online; another 17 percent utilize a personal mobile device. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) shop with both.

Distracted by Deals 
More than one in three (36 percent) workers say they have taken a day off to do some holiday shopping. And for those who bargain-hunt during business hours, 13 percent say they have had to work late or from home in the evening to make up for time shopping.

Terms & Conditions for Online Shopping at Work
In a separate survey of CIOs, only one-third say their companies block employee access to online shopping; 65 percent either allow unrestricted access or allow access but monitor for excessive use. However, most employees are unaware of their firm's stance: 55 percent of workers say they have not been provided with company information or training around IT security or online shopping policies.

"Employees cannot adhere to policies they aren't aware of, so technology managers should continually reinforce their online shopping and Internet security policies," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Right before the holiday shopping rush is an especially good time to discuss expectations and best practices with your teams."

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