Nearly one-third (32%) of US workers say they plan to do online holiday shopping at work this season, up from 29% last year, according to a study by CareerBuilder, which also found that 5% of companies have fired employees for doing their holiday shopping at work.
The study found that rampant personal use of the internet at work has forced a significant number of companies to rethink their policies regarding employee internet and email use.
Personal Use Rampant
Nearly six in 10 (58%) workers in the survey admit to using internet for non-work related activities while at the office and 21% typically spend one hour or more on personal internet use while at work, the survey found.
Moreover, an even larger percentage (61%) of full-time workers report having a social networking profile. Of these social networkers:
- 51% spend time on their social networking page during the workday; 11% spend one hour or more.
- 25% include information about their employer in their communications on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
- 15% include company information on Twitter.
- 13% of respondents with personal blogs say they blog about their companies.
- 13% of workers are “friends” with their boss on their social networking profile.
- 22% of workers have separate social networking profiles for personal and business use.
Companies Clamp Down
While? social media is fast becoming a key avenue for employers to promote their brands, products and services and job opportunities, it is also a time-waster among some employees. This double-edged sword is forcing many companies to take second look at how messages about their company are communicated and at how much time employees are spending on social networks:
- 37% of employers have a policy on whether workers can communicate about the company on social media sites, while 17% have implemented a stricter policy on employees communicating about the company on social media sites in the last year.
- 21% prohibit employees from communicating about the company.
- 13% have designated certain employees to post on behalf of the company.
- 16% monitor social networking profiles of employees and 14% monitor blogs.
- 20% of employers have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activities.
- Half of employers (50%) block employees from accessing certain Web sites while at work.
Email is also of some concern to employers, who continue to step up monitoring of these employee communications. Two-thirds of workers report they typically send non-work related emails each day. At the same time, 32% of employers monitor emails, 16% monitor instant messaging, and 8% of employers have fired someone for non-work related emails.
About the survey: The online survey was conducted in the US by Harris Interactive, August 20-September 9, 2009 among 3,163 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self-employed; with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions; government and non-government) and 4,721 US workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; government and non-government) ages 18+.