Are you planning to scoop up some Cyber Monday deals today, and company internet policy be damned? If so, you’re not alone: in a Robert Half Technology survey, 49 percent of respondents said they typically shop online at work on Cyber Monday. On the other hand, 36 percent said that they took the day off to shop online — so maybe your boss should just be grateful you showed up today.
Of course, that might be a tough sell. Companies pay workers to work, not shop online, and employees have been fired for shopping on the company time.
Shopping at Work on Cyber Monday? Be Smart
If you’re committed to taking advantage of the sales, be careful. A little forethought could mean the difference between getting a great deal and getting in trouble with the boss. (And savings don’t mean much, if you lose your job while you’re getting them.)
Here’s how to shop online from work, if you absolutely have to:
Don’t use a company computer.
It’s safe to assume that anything you do on a company device or network is being monitored. Nearly 80 percent of organizations track employees’ use of computing resources, according to one recent survey.
To an employee, this can feel like Big Brother is watching, but from an employer’s perspective, it just makes sense. Any worker with access to the internet and company resources could compromise sensitive data, for example, or engage in illegal activities on the company dime. Ideally, your organization doesn’t make their monitoring so stringent and obtrusive that it gets in the way of you performing your job, but you should still expect it.
You probably have plenty of mobile devices of your own, with their own data packages attached. Use them.
Shop on your break.
Taking lunch breaks is good for productivity, your waistline, and your attitude. Generally, it’s probably best to use them to take a break from screens, too, but you can push it once a year. Shop online during your lunch break, and you’re not taking time away from the company.
Familiarize yourself with company policy.
If you really want to make sure you’re in the right, you need to know where your company stands on computer use during company time. Chances are, you already signed a usage policy when you came on board; now’s a good time to re-familiarize yourself with what you signed. Many companies also post their policies on the corporate intranet, so that’s a good place to look. (Want to see a sample computer, email, and internet usage policy? The Society for Human Resource Management has a good one, here.)
Do your job.
In the end, the best way to protect your job is to do your job. If your productivity doesn’t suffer, your boss will have no reason to ask what you’ve been doing all day.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you shop from work on Cyber Monday? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.