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Poll: Online shopping at work brings increased scrutiny, new rules

December 11, 2011

Poll: Online shopping at work brings increased scrutiny, new rules
By Career Builders

Cyber Monday broke online sales records last year, and according to CareerBuilder’s latest survey, the trend may be poised to continue. Fifty percent of American workers plan to spend time holiday shopping online at work this season – on par with 52 percent last year. Of these workers, 34 percent will spend one hour or more shopping (up from 27 percent in 2010) and 16 percent will spend two or more hours (up from 13 percent in 2010).

The survey – conducted August 16 through September 8, 2011, among 4,384 workers and 2,696 employers – points to a larger trend of increased, non-work related Internet activity met with steadily tightening online policies on the employer side. Half of U.S. companies monitor Internet and email use of employees, which is up from 47 percent last year.

“Most companies assume their employees use some of their break time on the Internet for shopping, checking social networks, and other general browsing, but when it starts adding up, workers need to be aware of company policies and any potential consequences,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “With more companies limiting or restricting online activity, e-shopping season is as good a time as any to be mindful of our Internet usage at work.”

General Internet Usage
Two-thirds (65 percent) of workers spend at least some time conducting non-work related Web searches in a typical workday; 22 percent find themselves conducting non-work related Web searches at least five times a day.
· 22 percent of employers have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activity – on par with 2010.

· 7 percent of human resource managers surveyed have fired an employee for holiday shopping.

· 54 percent of employers block employees from accessing certain websites – up from 50 percent in 2010.

Social Media Usage
More than half (56 percent) of workers on social networks check their profiles during their typical work-days – up from 49 percent in 2010. Of this group, around one in seven (15 percent) spends at least one hour a day browsing.

Workers need to be especially careful of what they post about their company publicly.
· One-third (32 percent) of employers prohibit employees from communicating about the company on social media.

· 25 percent of employers report adopting stricter policies during the last year in regard to employees communicating about company on social media.

Personal Email Usage
Sixty-one percent of workers send non-work related emails during their typical workday – up slightly from 59 percent in 2010. Nineteen percent send more than five personal emails a day.
· 28 percent of employers monitor emails – on par with 2010.

· 8 percent of employers report having fired someone for non-work related emails.

  
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