It's Cyber Monday: Is Getting That Unbeatable Deal Worth Your Job?

Businesswoman covering monitor screen from co-workers
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By Debra Auerbach

Waiting in line for hours in the middle of the night. Fighting off other shoppers for that amazing deal on a TV. While for some people that might sound appealing, for many others, they'd rather wait to score their bargains in the comfort of their own home -- or office.

According to CareerBuilder's annual Cyber Monday study, 54 percent of workers expect to spend some time at work shopping online for the holidays, up from 49 percent last year.

Shopping while working
While some workers can hold off until lunch or a break before browsing online deals, not every employee has the willpower to wait. One in five workers will spend between one and three hours browsing Internet deals from the office over the course of the holiday season and 10 percent will spend three hours or more; a quarter report just planning to spend an hour or less.

Productivity plunging
While shopping can surely be a time-waster at the office, it's the holidays in general that have some workers feeling less than motivated. Of workers who expect to spend two hours or more Internet shopping at work this holiday season, 33 percent feel they are less productive during December because of the holidays. Comparatively, 9 percent of those who don't plan on doing any holiday shopping online from the office feel less productive during December.

"Employers are often more lenient around the holidays when it comes to their employees shopping online; however, it is up to employees to make sure the quality of their work is not suffering," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

Consequences of careless Internet use
Online shopping is just one way employees may get distracted at work by technology. Social networks, personal email and other Internet websites can easily lure workers away from their to-do lists. But if they aren't careful, they may get caught by their employers.

In fact, many employers have had to take measures to prevent loss of productivity, including:

Some 51 percent of employers say their organization blocks employees from accessing certain websites from work.

One in five employers (22 percent) say they've fired someone for using the Internet for a nonwork-related activity, and 7 percent of all employers pointed directly to online shopping at work. 10 percent of employers say they've fired someone for sending nonwork-related emails during work hours.

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