Increasing broadband at home and restrictive internet usage policies at work haven’t made a discernable dent this holiday season in employees’ penchant for shopping online while at work.
Last week marked the unofficial start of the online holiday buying season for many retailers, with traffic to retail sites up approximately 9 percent from last year, according to tracking firm Hitwise. More than half of weekday traffic since the Monday after Thanksgiving, according to measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings, has come from workplace internet users.
“It’s as strong as ever,” said NetRatings retail analyst Heather Dougherty. “Once they get over the Thanksgiving hump, they’re ready to do their holiday shopping. Monday, they can’t help but keep it going, even if they’re at work.”
Companies are growing more accepting of the idea that workers will fritter away part of the workday shopping online, according to purveyors of employee internet-monitoring tools. Most employers engage in some sort of monitoring of workplace internet access. But rather than block all shopping sites, employers preoccupied with productivity are more apt to set time limits on access.
“At one time, they were more adamant about not having anyone do any browsing or personal activity over the workday,” said Susan Larson, vice president of threat analysis and research at SurfControl, a developer of monitoring applications. “Now there’s a realization that there should be more of a work-life balance.”
Why do I think we all don’t work for such enlightened employers?