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What to do when you catch staff shopping online at work

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As holiday season approaches, more professionals might be tempted to bag up attractive shopping deals online during company hours.

But how should bosses react when they catch such staff red-handed in the office?

According to recent research by Robert Half, nearly one in four employees said that their online shopping had caught the attention of a manager in the past.

But only 15% of those caught said they were reprimanded, while 31% said that the interaction was in fact a positive shopping discussion.

ALSO READ: Senior staff more likely to shop online during working hours

To deal with the problem, many companies also block certain shopping websites to keep their employees from becoming distracted. But, of course, not all do.

One-quarter of chief information officers (CIOs) said their firms allow unrestricted access to shopping sites.

Another 48% said their companies allow access but monitor activity for excessive use.

Only a quarter (25%) of CIOs said their firms block access to online shopping sites – down 8% from 2012.

“Many professionals appreciate the ability to get some quick online shopping done at work during the busy holiday season,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology.

“But employees should recognise that most companies keep tabs on their online activity.  Professionals should follow safe and secure browsing practices, and keep distractions at work to a minimum.”

For employees, the issue is both a practical and ethical one.

The survey of more than 1,000 employees included in the study showed that 30% feel guilty about shopping at work.

But 28% say that taking a break from work to shop ultimately makes them more productive.

Image: Shutterstock


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