Holiday shopping online in the office may harm productivity

With over half of all office workers planning to do their holiday shopping online in the workplace, there will be a toll to pay in productivity loss, according to a Cyber Monday study by CareerBuilder.

Each year the number of workers expecting to do their holiday shopping online in the office increases. This year 54% do, compared to 49% in 2012.

The survey, which was carried out nationally by Harris Interactive from August 13th to September 6th this year, included 3,484 workers and 2,099 hiring managers and HR professionals across a wide range of industries and company sizes.

One fifth of all respondents said they plan to spend up to three ours on the Internet seeking out deals during office hours over the course of this holiday season.

Ten percent say they plan to spend more than 3 hours searching the Internet while at work, while one quarter said they plan to spend at the most one hour.

Is it holiday shopping online or just because it is December?

What takes its toll on workplace productivity, holiday shopping online or simply the fact that it is December and everybody slackens off a bit during the holiday season?

Thirty-three percent of workers who say they will probably spend at least two hours holiday shopping online at the office this season believe they are less productive during December because of the holidays.

On the other hand, only 9% of those planning not to do any internet shopping in the office report feeling less productive in December because of the holidays.

Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, said:

“Employers are often more lenient around the holidays when it comes to their employees shopping online, however, it is up to employees to make sure the quality of their work is not suffering.”

Using the internet in the workplace

Faced with serious loss of productivity, many employers today take measures to prevent their employees from becoming distracted with new technology:

  • 51% of employers block employee access to certain websites from the workplace.
  • 22% of employers reported having to fire an employee for using the internet for a non-work related activity.
  • 10% of employers have fired staff for sending non-work related emails during normal office hours.