Online shopping could be harder for employees this year

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Workers looking to take advantage of Cyber Monday online deals will have a harder time sneaking past the guards at work this year, according to a survey of employers.

Robert Half Technology found in a survey of Chief Information Officers that 60 percent of them block access on employee computers to retail and other online shopping sites throughout the holiday season.

That 60 percent represents a sharp rise from the 48 percent of employers who said they would block access to online shopping opportunities in 2010.

Those CIOs who said they would allow online shopping expect employees to spend an average of four hours per week surfing for deals.

In addition to those companies that plan to block access, another 23 percent said they would monitor activity for excessive use. That’s down from 2010 when 34 percent of employers said they would monitor use.

About the same percentage (14 percent in 2010 and 13 percent in 2011) of employers said they would allow unrestricted access to the Web during the holiday season.

Another 4 percent of employers said they didn’t know how they will deal with online shopping.

Just because employers block access to online shopping sites, however, doesn’t mean employees will keep their wallets in their pockets.

“With an increasing number of firms blocking access to shopping sites, many employees may turn to mobile devices to shop at the office,” John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a statement.” Reed advises exercising caution, however. “Spending excessive time on non-business activities while at work raises a red flag for employers.”