For many years, I sat in my cubicle debating this question. Of course, Cyber Monday got its name from those people who waited to use the broadband connection at work to browse or shop online the weekend after Thanksgiving. Today, we can use our smart phones to shop online right at our desks. If you never heard of Cyber Monday, brush up with this article: “It’s A Boy! The Birth of Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday Specials suggests you re-size your browser so your Cyber Mondayperusing of DVDs and books all fits in the guilt-free window of your email preview.
Should workers feel guilty for shopping at work? I would venture to say most don't. When you're working the same or more hours and your paycheck has been cut I think employees feel it's okay to toggle back and forth between Target.com and the work project of the day.
According to a survey by the Information Systems and Audit Control Association, a non-profit group of IT professionals based in Rolling Meadows, Ill., nearly two-thirds of workers of all ages plan to do some online shopping during November and December. While the average time spent shopping is 14.4 hours, 10 percent of respondents said they will spend more than 30 hours shopping online at work. (That's a pretty big number!)
Richard Moore is an employment issues lawyer with downtown-based Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, and a member of the Cincinnati Bar Association's board of directors. He discussed on a Cincinnati Enquirer blog how companies can cope with cyber-shopping in the office during the holidays. The bottom line: be careful about disciplining one employee and letting another get away with it.
Most companies have Internet policies so employees need to use caution. One commenter says: To be safe, if you must shop on line today, do it during your lunch break, or wait until you get home from work tonight and do it. The bargains will still be available tonight online. Another commenter says: Smart phones are getting to the point where those who can afford a data plan barely need the company network to goof off anymore.
I say don't risk it. Shop online during your lunch hour. Of course, as my own boss, I don't have to deal with the guilt this year. I'm off to search cyberspace for deals!