<< return 11/20/2012 8:18:20 AM

Shopping at Work? Most Firms Say OK

TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - A new survey suggests companies are a little more lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours. Less than one-third (32 per cent) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed by staffing firm Robert Half Technology said their companies block access to online shopping sites - down from 57 per cent last year. Another 54 per cent said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. More than one in 10 (12 per cent) reported that their firms allow unrestricted access.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CIOs from companies across Canada with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, "What is your company's policy regarding employees shopping online while at work?" Their responses:
                                                                                2011    2012
              Block access to online shopping sites            57%     32%
              Allow access but monitor for excessive use   30%     54%
              Allow unrestricted access                              12%     12%
              Other/don't know                                           1%      3%
              Total                                                           100%    101%(*)
    (*) Responses do not equal 100 per cent due to rounding.

"Many organisations are willing to offer more flexibility to their employees, by permitting online shopping in the office, during the busy holiday season," said Lara Dodo, a regional vice-president of Robert Half Technology in Canada. "Allowing staff to tackle their personal to-do lists at work assists in maintaining overall productivity, as they are less likely to confront the long line-ups and traffic delays, that go along with holiday crowds."

Dodo recommends professionals familiarise themselves with their firm's rules on acceptable Internet use during business hours, as excessive time spent on non-related business activities can raise a red flag to companies.

Robert Half Technology offers five tips for employees who might shop online from the office this holiday season:

    1. Know the rules. If your employer allows shopping at work, know your
    company's policy, including sites or hours to avoid, before searching for
    deals online.
    2. Limit surfing. A liberal computer use policy is no excuse to spend the
    day filling your online shopping cart. Do your browsing out of the office
    and limit your activity to quick transactions.
    3. Be smart about using your Smartphone. Mobile devices may allow you to
    get around a strict online shopping policy, but always put work first.
    4. Score some deals after work. No online promotion is worth putting your
    career at risk. If you have projects that require immediate attention,
    save your holiday shopping for the evening or weekend.
    5. Protect your personal information. If a holiday offer looks too good
    to be true, it likely is. Avoid clicking on links or visiting sites that
    could infect your company's network with viruses or malware.

About Robert Half Technology

With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at www.rht.com. Follow Robert Half Technology at www.twitter.com/RobertHalfTech

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