We apologize, but Advice & Resources is currently only compatible with Internet Explorer 9 and above. Please upgrade or consider a more standards-compliant browser such as Firefox or Chrome

Cyber Monday shopping at work? You’re not alone

ACCORDING TO CAREERBUILDER’S ANNUAL CYBER MONDAY SURVEY, MORE THAN HALF OF WORKERS (53 PERCENT) SAY THEY SPEND AT LEAST SOME WORK TIME HOLIDAY SHOPPING ON THE INTERNET, UP 3 PERCENT FROM LAST YEAR.

Cyber Monday's on the horizon, and you know your workday will be spent clicking through 50-percent-off offers on winter outerwear. Is your boss watching?

According to CareerBuilder's annual Cyber Monday survey, more than half of workers (53 percent) say they spend at least some work time holiday shopping on the Internet, up 3 percent from last year. Of this group, 43 percent spend an hour or more doing so. Employers aren't turning a blind eye to this. Eleven percent of employers say they've fired someone for holiday shopping on the Internet while at work (compared to 12 percent last year), and 54 percent say their organization blocks employees from accessing certain websites from work — down 2 percent from last year.

You might be monitored…
A third of employers (33 percent) said that even if performance isn't affected, they care if employees spend time on non-work related emails and websites. With the ever-looming distractions offered by technology, many have taken stronger measures to prevent loss of productivity this year, including:

  • 35 percent of employers say their organization monitors the sites employees visit, compared to 36 percent last year.
  • 52 percent of employers restrict employees from posting on behalf of the company on social media, and 29 percent have adopted stricter policies in this regard over the past year (compared to 55 and 32 percent last year, respectively).
  • 24 percent say they've fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activity, and 17 percent have fired an employee for something they posted on social media (compared to 28 and 18 percent last year, respectively).

So, should you hide your activity?
According to Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, some online shopping is OK this holiday season, as long as it doesn't overhaul productivity. Here are some tips to stay focused:

  • Set self-imposed deadlines: For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it, so you don't waste away the entire day browsing the Web. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you're watching the clock.
  • Stop multitasking: Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project. If you're going to spend 15 minutes online shopping, do it and then move on to focusing solely on the business task at hand.
  • Turn off personal notifications: During work hours, turn off your notifications, and instead build in time to check shopping-related email and messages.

"Employers realize that you are going to be tempted by the flurry of notifications regarding discounts throughout the day on Cyber Monday," Haefner said. "But it's up to you to self-police yourself and schedule your time to make sure you're getting your job done and productivity isn't hurt while you save money shopping online."

Are you planning on shopping at work this Cyber Monday? Tweet at us and let us know @CareerBuilder!