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Nearly One-Third of Workers Plan to Holiday Shop Online While at the Office, CareerBuilder’s Annual Survey Reveals


Employers Report Monitoring Internet and Email Use and Implementing Stricter Policies on Social Media

CHICAGO, Cyber Monday, a term coined by the National Retail Federation for the first Monday after Thanksgiving, is likely to be a busy day for Internet use in the office. Thirty-two percent of workers plan to holiday shop online this season, up from 29 percent last year, according to CareerBuilder’s annual survey. While employers tend to be more lenient around the holidays, experts caution workers to be aware of their company’s electronic communications policies as employers have reported monitoring Internet and email use and instituting stricter policies in regard to social media. The survey included more than 3,100 employers and 4,700 workers nationwide.

“The Internet provides fast and convenient access to virtually any resources you need, but you want to make sure you’re leveraging those resources during personal time that is allotted to you during the workday, such as your lunch hour,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Nearly half of employers reported they monitor Internet and email use of employees. While employers will take into consideration the overall performance of the employee, smaller staffs and higher productivity demands may have them taking more notice of time spent on non-work related activities. This extends to all types of communications and activities.”

Social Media Restrictions - What Workers Should Know Before They Post

Social media has become pervasive for personal and business use. Sixty-one percent of full-time workers reported they have a social networking profile. Among them:

* Half of workers (51 percent) spend time on their social networking page during the workday; 11 percent spend one hour or more.

* 25 percent include information about their employer in their communications on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace; 15 percent include company information on Twitter; 13 percent of workers with personal blogs say they blog about their companies.

* 13 percent of workers are “friends” with their boss on their social networking profile.

* 22 percent of workers have separate social networking profiles for personal and business use.

With social media becoming a key avenue for employers to promote their brands, products and services and job opportunities, companies are taking a closer look at how messages about the company are communicated.

* 37 percent of employers have a policy on whether workers can communicate about the company on social media sites; 17 percent have implemented a stricter policy on employees communicating about the company on social media sites in the last year.

* 21 percent prohibit employees from communicating about the company. Thirteen percent have designated certain employees to post on behalf of the company.

* 16 percent monitor social networking profiles of employees and 14 percent monitor blogs.

Internet Usage Nearly three-in-five workers (58 percent) admitted they use the Internet for non-work related activities while at the office. Twenty-one percent will typically spend one hour or more on personal Internet use while at work.

Workers are advised to limit their Internet searches to those related to work or to designate their lunch hour or break time for these activities.

* 20 percent of employers have fired someone for using the Internet for non-work related activities.

* 5 percent of employers have fired someone for holiday shopping online at work.

* Half of employers (50 percent) block employees from accessing certain Web sites while at work.

Personal Emails
Workers are also cautioned about email content as two-thirds have reported they typically send non-work related emails each day.

* 32 percent of employers monitor emails and 16 percent monitor instant messaging.

* 8 percent have fired someone for non-work related emails.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of between August 20 and 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 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; government and non-government) ages 18 and over. With a pure probability sample of 3,163 and 4,721 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.74 percentage points and +/- 1.43 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


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