Cyber-Monday Shopping at Work Closely Monitored or Blocked

Does management care if you spend time on the job making your holiday purchases on Black Friday, Cyber-Monday or any other day this season? You bet they do. 'Tis the season to avoid getting sacked.

There are already some amazing online deals on consumer products for the holiday season, but you better understand your company's policy on whether you should be making purchases on the job this coming Cyber-Monday.

Nearly half (48 percent) of 1,400 CIOs polled in a new survey from staffing and research firm Robert Half Technology said they are blocking access to online shopping sites. For those that do not block access, 34 percent are monitoring for heavy use--so keep your consumerism to a minimum because it could lead to termination.

"Many companies monitor computer use, and excessive shopping is a red flag that could put someone's job at risk," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology in a statement. "Even if employers allow online shopping, employees should use good judgment and not abuse the privilege."

When asked how many weekly hours they expect workers to online shop on the job during the holidays, the mean response was 3 hours. Only 14 percent of CIOs have unrestricted access to shopping sites.

Another concern for companies beyond productivity is security. One bad link that infiltrates a company device or computer could lead to identity theft or propagation of a worm, virus or other, more dangerous malware.

Companies should be concerned as more than half of 638 respondents in an October ISACA survey on online shopping said they click on e-mailed links, provide work e-mail addresses to shopping sites (28 percent) and click on shopping links on social networking sites (19 percent). When it comes to mobile devices, ISACA found 47 percent of workers will use company devices to shop online.

"For many workers, the distinction between their personal and professional lives is diminishing because they have been given mobile devices by their employers and are available for business regardless of time or location," wrote ISACA in the report 2010 Shopping on the Job Survey. "While these devices may affect productivity in a positive manner, employees use these devices for many things... It is critical that enterprises take the time to properly control and manage these devices."