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Shopping at Work? More Companies Say 'Yes!'

Just in time for Cyber Monday, more businesses acknowledge the need for flexibility during the hectic holiday season and allow online shopping at work, within reason.

Just in time for Cyber Monday, a new survey by Robert Half Technology suggests companies are a little more lenient today when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours.

Only one-third (33 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed said their companies block access to online shopping sites, down from 60 percent last year. Another 55 percent said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. One in 10 (10 percent) reported that their firms allow unrestricted access.

If your company does allow access to shopping site, you should exercise caution when shopping at work and avoid spending excessive time on non-business activities, which can raise a red flag for employers. Here are 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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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