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Companies Plan to Restrict Employee Online Shopping

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Shoppers looking to take advantage of Cyber Monday deals while on the clock next week might be in for a rude awakening, new research shows.

A study by Robert Half Technology found that employers are looking to crack down on their staffs' online shopping at work by restricting access to various online retailers.

Specifically, 60 percent of the Chief Information Officers surveyed said they are blocking all access to online shopping sites this year, up from 48 percent last year. Additionally, more than 20 percent said they will allow access to online retailers but monitor activity for excessive use.

Companies that don't restrict employees from shopping online said they expect their workers to spend four hours per week, on average, surfing for deals this holiday season.

Research conducted last year by Purdue University retail expert Richard Feinberg found that businesses could see a combined $1 billion in lost productivity on Cyber Monday.

A simple solution may be for employees to use their own smartphones to shop while at work, however John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology, cautions against that.

"Spending excessive time on non-business activities while at work raises a red flag for employers," Reed said.

The research was based on surveys of more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with at least 100 employees.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.