- Nearly 65% of professionals said they plan to do holiday shopping online from work in a survey by staffing firm Robert Half Technology (RHT). More than half the 2,500 IT decision makers in the survey said they prefer that employees not shop online during work hours or on company devices because of possible security breaches. Tech leaders worry most about security risks (59%) and productivity loss (35%), survey results showed.
- When asked how often they planned to shop while on the job, 20% of respondents claimed they would only do so on Cyber Monday; 35% said once a week; 36% said a few times a week; and 8% said almost every day until they finish their shopping lists. Ryan Sutton, a district president for RHT, said in a statement that it's "inevitable that some employees will use work devices for personal reasons, but with proper guidance on safe browsing practices and implementation of strong security systems, risks can be mitigated."
- Survey results also revealed the top five ares where online shoppers live: Los Angeles (56%); Nashville (47%); Pittsburgh (47%); Salt Lake City (47%); and St. Louis (45%).
Employers should be concerned about cybersecurity risks, and not just during the holidays. About 64% of employees use a company-approved device for work-related tasks, but only 40% use a personal device that's monitored, Clutch, a B2B research firm, revealed in a survey earlier this year. Employees use their personal devices to share information, send and receive emails and access data for work. Although IT professionals in the RHT survey said they prefer to end holiday shopping online at work, 76% admitted that their policies permit it. The question then becomes how employers can break a habit they've allowed without creating a morale problem.
Measuring the possible losses in productivity might give employers the answer. Some losses are expected during the holiday season, but workplace analytics might give employers the quantitative data they need to see if the business suffers and to what extent during the high shopping season. High productivity losses or security risks may require employers to set expectations and policies that rein in the practice.
Employers may also need to remember that employees are often highly distracted and stressed out by the bustle of the holidays. Allowing some built in flexibility — and emphasizing the availability of various employee support programs — could go a long way in ensuring productivity loss is minimal.