Fewer companies restricting employees’ online holiday shopping: Survey

One-half allow access but monitor activity for excessive use
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/21/2012

Canadian companies are a little more lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours, found a recent survey by Robert Half Technology. Less than one-third (32 per cent) of CIOs said their companies block access to online shopping sites — down from 57 per cent last year.

Another 54 per cent said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. More than one in 10 (12 per cent) reported that their firms allow unrestricted access, found the survey of 270 Canadian CIOs.

"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."

Dodo recommends professionals familiarize themselves with their firm's rules on acceptable Internet use during business hours, as excessive time spent on non-related business activities can raise a red flag to companies.

Employers should ensure their employees:

Know the rules: The company policy, including sites or hours to avoid, should be clear to all employees.

Limit surfing: A liberal computer use policy is no excuse for employees to spend the day filling their online shopping cart. Browsing should be done out of the office and activity should be limited to quick transactions.

Put work first: Employees should make sure they are focusing on work and projects that require immediate attention and if online shopping is interfering, it should be saved for evenings and weekends.

Protect personal information: If a holiday offer looks too good to be true, it likely is. Employees should avoid clicking on links or visiting sites that could infect the company's network with viruses or malware

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