Cyber Monday: Is it okay to shop online at work?



Admit it, most of us will at least browse online today. The lure of a bargain is just too hard to resist. But is it wrong — ethically and legally? And, if you're going to do it, how do you ensure you dont' get caught.

Once again the lines are blurring between work and our personal lives.

A study conducted by polling firm Omnibus, on behalf of digital coupon site, found nearly 90% of working Americans plan to shop or browse online for gifts during work hours on Cyber Monday. More than 20% plan to spend four hours or more doing so. 

Yes, you read that last line right — some people are going to spend more than four hours today shopping online. Wow! Now I think that's crossing the line. Doing anything for four hours when you're supposed to be working seems a little outrageous. 

This whole phenomenon of Cyber Monday is tricky for bosses. Some plan to pull a Scrooge and snoop on employees or ban shopping on the clock. Banning online shopping completely could be a BIG morale killer. Some bosses will look the other way. Of course, if they do turn a blind eye, they need to do it for everyone, not just a chosen few.

If you're going to shop online at work, I recommend you have an idea of what you want, you go to one website, buy it and log out. There are a few other tricks so you might want to check out this article on how to shop discreetly at work.  

This year, more employees are less concerned they will get caught shopping on the work computer because we can sit in our offices or cubicles and shop on our iPad or mobile device. Why not get great deals while enjoying the privacy and the comfort of the office! Just be careful about bragging about your great deal. It just might get back to the boss. 

According to CareerBuilder, about 7% of hiring managers said they have fired an employee for holiday shopping at work.

So, if you plan to shop from your office or cubicle this year, here are some tips:

  • Only browse the Internet and do online shopping during lunch or other breaks.
  • Don’t put projects or paperwork on hold for online shopping.
  • Never shop online at work while you’re on the phone or sending important e-mail messages. You’ll be distracted and could miss something important.
  • Be careful about the websites you visit and items you’re searching for. For instance, if you’re planning to buy a friend an inappropriate gag gift, that’s fine–but don’t do it from your work computer.
  • If you have to place an order by phone, be careful when giving your credit card number–even if the only people who can hear you are co-workers.
  • Don’t distract those who sit around you with phone calls to retailers or excitement over great deals.
  • Don’t get distracted.



The Work/Life Balancing Act

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