Shopping at Work

That must be a sign of a good economy. People are spending more time than last year shopping at work.

According to a new survey of 3,321 U.S. employees from CareerBuilder, half of workers plan to spend time shopping at work during the holiday season. That’s 3 percent higher than last year’s poll.

But 58 percent of the admitted shoppers say they’ll spend less than an hour secretly shopping. That means that roughly a quarter of the total U.S. workforce will spend more than an hour shopping at the office in the coming weeks.

“In a world where the lines between the professional and personal are becoming more and more blurred every day, it’s not surprising that more employees are bringing personal activities to the workplace,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

A recent survey by Robert Half, an employment consulting firm, found that most employers aren’t bothered by moderate online shopping in the office — at least not enough to prohibit it. But in stark contrast, the CareerBuilder poll of 2,326 HR professionals found that 56 percent of employers intend to block employees from accessing certain websites at work, and 28 percent have fired an employee for inappropriate internet use.

Haefner suggests that employers let some subtle shopping slide, as long as the employee is still getting work done.

“Employees should follow the rules, but employers should be careful not to micromanage,” she said. “The issue should be more about performance than about what employees are doing with their time.”

Those employed in sales are the most likely to shop at work. Sixty-two percent of professional sellers will spend part of their work day buying this holiday season. Seems to make sense. However, those working in retail — at the absolute epicenter of holiday shopping — are the least likely to shop for themselves at work.


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