In-Office Shoppers Could be Focus of Electronic Monitoring

November 23, 2010 ( – If your colleagues have their noses glued to their computer screens when you get to the office, it may not be because they are focusing on company business.

A new CareerBuilder survey found 29% of workers have scoured the Internet for great deals while at the office. Of those planning to do so again this year, 27% will take an hour looking for bargains while 13% will be locked in place at their keyboards for two hours or more.

Those in-the-office shoppers may have some company online, however; 47% of companies monitor Internet and e-mail use of their employees, according to the poll. Twenty-one percent of employers have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activities, 5% of employers have fired someone for holiday shopping online at work. Half block employees from accessing certain Web sites while at work.

“Employees need to be aware of how much time they are spending online, regardless of the time of year,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Most employers know that their employees may use some time during the workday for Internet shopping, non-work emails and other personal matters, but employees need to be mindful of whether their employer has specific guidelines in place restricting these behaviors.”

Fifty-nine percent of workers said they typically send non-work related emails each day, while 16% report they send six or more personal e-mails during a typical workday. Twenty-seven percent of employers monitor emails, while 9% of employers have fired someone for non-work related emails.

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of among 2,457 hiring managers and 3,125 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between August 17 and September 2, 2010.