It used to be the odd clandestine telephone call on the work phone, or a bit of photocopying, then it was surfing the internet for news or something else whilst you should have been working. But now the prime illicit use of workplace IT is employee shopping.
Nothing to worry about you might think, but it’s something that a lot of IT professionals are worried about.
Cyber shopping impacts work
Online shopping has afforded consumers the luxury of shopping around the clock, but how many professionals take advantage by shopping on the clock during the holidays?
Nearly two in five employees (38 per cent) will be “workshopping” — shopping online from the office or when using corporate devices — according to surveys from staffing firm Robert Half Technology.
Of those respondents, 21 per cent admitted that looking for cyber deals hinders their on-the-job productivity.
It is men (58%) who are more likely that women to report that workshopping affects their productivity.
Working parents 39% are also more likely to workshop than people without children said they will shop online from work.
Young are biggest workshoppers
Unsurprisingly the age group most likely to workshop are those aged between 18 to 34 (47 per cent). 38 per cent of workers ages 35 to 54. The employees least likely to workshop are those aged over 55, at 17 per cent of workers, although this age group might also potentially be the smallest group.
Day and time
Forty-four per cent of all workshoppers say they’ll spend under 30 minutes per week shopping from work during the holiday season, while 38 per cent will spend up to an hour per week “workshopping.”
Thirty-nine per cent say they like to “workshop” just about any day. But with on-line retailers promoting specific sale days like Black Friday it is worth noting that it may be more difficult to get a meeting with your colleagues on Cyber Monday when as many as 22 per cent may be shopping on-line or on Amazon Prime Day when 16 per cent of them are likely to be shopping.
Help at hectic time of year
OK! We all know that the end of the year is a busy time what with planning for the festive season, fitting in social obligations and wrapping up major projects, the levels of stress are likely to also be higher.
It is not surprising that many people take the opportunity to win back a bit of time by shopping online at some point during the working day.
On-line shopping at work or on work related IT equipment can as Deborah Bottineau, district director for Robert Half Technology, can be a helpful way to manage to-do lists and alleviate some of the pressures of the season.
The weeks leading into the holiday season can be particularly hectic for employees, so it’s no wonder many are multitasking, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of Robert Half Technology.
Not every worker is a workshopper. In a separate survey, 77% of technology leaders said their firm allows “workshopping,” but more than half (52%) of those employers prefer their employees to abstain from the activity.
The biggest reason for this preference is described by tech managers as the risk to IT security (59%) and loss of productivity (34%).
Even though 76 per cent of technology leaders said their firm allows for it, more than half (55 per cent) prefer employees avoid shopping online during business hours or while using a company device.
Security risks (62 per cent) and loss of productivity (30 per cent) are the top “workshopping” concerns among tech managers.
Reinforce security measures
Tech leaders, says Bottineau, should anticipate an increase in online shopping this time of year and make a proactive effort to refresh and communicate IT security policies with their teams.
Sutton, suggests that team leaders concerned with productivity and technology managers responsible for organizational security should review their company policies with staff before issues arise.”
Limit shopping time
Ensuring employees limit their browsing time and understand safe online practices can mitigate potential risks to the organization and help staff stay productive both at and outside of work.