More Than 1 in 2 Workers Holiday Shop on the Clock

November 28, 2016 Mary Lorenz


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For many workers, it’s hard to pass up a good Cyber Monday deal – even if it might interfere with work. According to CareerBuilder’s latest survey, more than half of workers (53 percent) say they spend at least some work time holiday shopping – up 3 percent from last year.

Not only are more workers online shopping at the office, they’re devoting more time to it. Of those who holiday shop at work, 43 percent spend an hour or more doing it – up from 42 percent from last year.

Employers aren’t taking this behavior lying down, however. More than half of employers (54 percent) say their organization blocks employees from accessing certain websites from work; however, employees are finding ways around this: Nearly half of employees (49 percent) use their personal mobile devices to shop –  up from 42 percent last year and 27 percent in 2014. Still, 11 percent of employers have fired an employee for holiday shopping at work.

What does this mean for you?

Despite your best attempts to block certain websites, monitor employees’ online behavior or ban personal shopping at work altogether, you may never be able to stop all of your employees from taking care of personal errands on the job. But giving employees the freedom to shop online – as long as it doesn’t interfere with their work – can actually be a boost to productivity. For one thing, it shows employees that you trust them, which is good for morale. It’s also been shown that taking breaks throughout the day to surf the internet can make employees more productive, because it gives them a chance to rest and re-energize.

So rather than trying to control employees’ behavior, try to manage it instead. Be candid with your employees, and let them know you understand it’s a busy time of year – both personally and professionally. Ask that they limit their personal business to lunch breaks, or consider letting them work remotely or have more flexible schedules, helping them foster a better work-life balance.


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