Cyber Monday: More Employees Shopping Online At Work

Survey finds 53% of employees are using time at work to shop online, up from last year.

It’s Cyber Monday, which means many employees will be tempted to browse the Internet for great holiday shopping deals today, and in the weeks to come. 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, compared to 42 percent from last year.

Cyber Monday
Credit: Chad Baker

Employers aren’t unaware of this: Eleven percent 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.

“Employers realize that you are going to be tempted by the flurry of notifications regarding discounts throughout the day on Cyber Monday,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “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.”

IT, Financial Services Lead Online Shopping

As mobile technology continues to have a growing presence in the workplace, more workers are using their gadgets to shop. Forty-nine percent of employees use their personal smart phones or tablets to shop, up from 42 percent last year and 27 percent in 2014.

Whether desktop or mobile, a higher percentage of workers in information technology and financial services industries online shop compared to those in other industries:

  • Information Technology: 68 percent
  • Financial Services: 65 percent
  • Sales: 63 percent
  • Leisure & Hospitality: 54 percent
  • Health Care: 53 percent
  • Transportation: 42 percent
  • Manufacturing: 40 percent
  • Retail: 42 percent

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).