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Survey Results > Talent Management

Holiday Sales a Bad Deal for Employers?

Nearly one-third (29 percent) of U.S. workers plan to holiday shop online during office hours this year, according to CareerBuilder.com’s latest survey of 5600 workers nationwide.  The survey comes out just in time for Cyber Monday, the nickname for the first Monday after Thanksgiving, when consumer spending spikes in conjunction with seasonal holiday sales.

Of the workers who plan to shop during office time, 43 percent admitted that they’ll probably spend more than one hour doing so over the course of the holiday season, while 23 percent said they’ll spend two hours or more, and another 13 percent will spend three hours or more.

Now, usually I support the case for participating in seemingly non-work related Internet activity during working hours, but even I’m not up for the challenge of arguing the benefits of online shopping at the office - as much as it pains me to admit, pre-ordering “Dark Knight” on Blu Ray seems significantly less stimulating than, say, perusing popular news items on digg.com or catching up on the latest tweets

Hopefully, your employees know to police their own Internet activity.  If it gets to be a distraction, however, (and other than doing the ever-effective, passive aggressive manager walk-by every 20 minutes) there is a way to try to salvage lost work time and productivity, according to this BLR whitepaper

One way to address the situation is to ask employees to limit their shopping to lunch periods and breaks, or possibly even provide an additional 15 to 30 minutes each Monday for them to complete their online shopping.

Or use the opportunity to generate some goodwill around the office, engage workers and encourage team building by coordinating a toy or food drive, “adopting” a family, or offering to match any gifts employees donate toward their favorite charities. As long as they’re already shopping online, let them steer that energy toward activities that also foster their connections to the company and their co-workers at the same time.

Is holiday shopping a distraction in your office? How do you handle it?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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