Seriously, Do Not Shop at Work on Cyber Monday (But Since You’re Going to, Here’s How)

This Cyber Monday, give yourself the gift of continued employment, and do not spend your day shopping from your desk. Before you roll your eyes and remind us that these deals wait for no one, consider: it’s pretty hard to pay for those presents if you no longer have a job. That said, since you’re probably going to do at least some online shopping today anyway, here’s how to balance your consumer wants with your employment needs.

cash register

(Photo Credit: Martina Troiano/Flickr)

First, let’s look at why doing Cyber Monday from your desk might not be the best idea:

1. Big Brother is watching you.

It’s been a long time since our bosses had to catch us goofing off in person. These days, your manager (or at the very least, your friendly neighborhood tech support person) probably sees or is able to see everything you do online, from email to internet browsing to messaging. Don’t think that just because you haven’t heard anything about online monitoring, it’s not happening. In fact, a 2011 survey showed that over half of companies monitor their employees online.

2. Multitasking is a lie.

For most of us, real multitasking is not a thing. Basically, you can either do one thing at a time well, or many things poorly. Extend that to Cyber Monday shopping, and you can see what often goes wrong. Want to wind up with duplicate gifts that weren’t even that marked down to start out with, plus a boss who’s super mad at you? Definitely try to shop and work at the same time.

Now, since you skipped all that advice about why you shouldn’t shop from work, here’s some practical tips for doing it and not getting fired:

1. Don’t use your work computer.

Independent of any devices the company has provided for work purposes, you probably have a phone, a laptop, a watch that would make Inspector Gadget jealous, and a tablet that would bring tears to the eyes of his whiz-kid niece: you do not need to use your work laptop or desktop to get your shopping done. Best of all, you probably have a data plan for one or more of these devices, allowing you to untether from the company network completely. Do so.

2. Shop on your break.

Sure, you probably eat lunch at your desk most days, and even when you don’t, you often skimp on time out for eating and socializing and just plain getting your head screwed on straight. Today’s the day to take that break you usually neglect, and use it to buy stuff where no one can see. (Suggested locations: the lunch room, a conference room, a coffee shop around the corner.)

3. Don’t neglect your other work.

You can be as sneaky as you want, but if your reports aren’t getting filed on time and you’re late to the 3 o’clock meeting, people are going to figure out what’s up.

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