Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

Survey Results

Hello Holiday Shopping, Goodbye Workplace Productivity?

Many workers are shopping onlineAh, Thanksgiving — a time to connect with loved ones, give thanks, eat till you’re sick and, of course, shop till you drop. Unfortunately, many are saving that last activity till they get back to work.

Purchasing pens, Post-Its and other office supplies online while at work is one thing; but come this holiday season, more than half (54 percent) of workers in the U.S. expect to catch up on a little holiday shopping at their cubicles, up from 49 percent last year. CLICK TO TWEET

That’s according to CareerBuilder’s annual Cyber Monday survey of nearly 3,500 U.S. workers and 2,000-plus hiring managers and HR professionals. Click here to read the full report.

So, are we talking a few innocent minutes here and there during lunch breaks or full-blown shopping marathons?

While 1 in 4 plan to spend an hour or less hunting down online shopping deals in the office and 1 in 5 expect to spend between one and three hours, the remaining 10 percent anticipate spending three or more hours shopping from their work stations.

You may be interested to check out our posts from holiday seasons past:
2012: 49 Percent Plan to Shop Online While On the Clock this Holiday Season
2011: It’s Getting Personal: Workers, Employers, and Internet Use at Work
2010: Fired for Holiday Shopping at Work? It’s Just Another Cyber Monday

Workplace Productivity and Cyber Crackdown

How do these folks get away with it, you ask? Turns out, some don’t. Of those we surveyed, 1 in 5 employers (22 percent) have actually fired an employee for engaging in non-work related online activities – and 7 percent of all employers pointed to online shopping at work as the culprit.

It’s interesting to see the difference in productivity levels between employees who plan to shop online at work versus those who don’t. Of workers who say they’ll spend two or more hours doing so this holiday season, 1 in 3 feel they’ll be less productive. Meanwhile, that number is much smaller (9 percent) among workers who keep things professional at work and cyber shop on their own time.

“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,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

In terms of steps employers take to mitigate productivity loss, more than half (51 percent) block access to certain websites in the office. A few have even taken reactive steps, with 10 percent admitted to firing someone for sending personal emails during work hours.

We want to know what happens at YOUR workplace. Do you see productivity declining during the holidays – and if so, what do you do about it? Comment below or drop us a tweet or Facebook post.

Deanna Hartley

About Deanna Hartley

Deanna Hartley is a senior copywriter and community manager on the creative services team at CareerBuilder, where she writes about issues that are top of mind for employers and recruiters – including talent acquisition, employee engagement and retention. An avid social media user, Deanna is the face behind @CBforEmployers on Twitter as well as CBforEmployers’ Facebook and Instagram pages, so it’s easy to stay connected with her. Prior to joining CareerBuilder, Deanna was a senior editor for the Human Capital Media Group, publishers of Talent Management, Chief Learning Officer, Diversity Executive and Workforce Management magazines. Deanna holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She loves caffeine, social media, pop culture and dogs – though not necessarily in that order.


  1. […] annual Cyber Monday Survey tells us that shopping at work is growing, not shrinking. This year 54% of employees are expected to […]

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