Survey shows more companies are 'buying it'

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, a new Robert Half Technology survey suggests companies are becoming more lenient when it comes to letting employees shop online during business hours. More than one-quarter (27%) of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed said their companies allow unrestricted access to shopping sites: an increase of 17 percentage points since 2012.

Another 42% said they allow access but monitor activity for excessive use. Less than one-third (30%) of CIOs said their firms block access to online shopping sites.

"Employers recognize that some flexibility is needed to help workers successfully manage their time during the hectic holiday season," says John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Allowing professionals to attend to the occasional personal errand at work, like holiday shopping, can make all the difference to them during this busy time of year."

However, Reed advised professionals not to abuse work policies that allow online holiday shopping. "Employees should still limit their shopping time on the job," he says. "It doesn't reflect well on any professional to be seen bargain-hunting rather than attending to business at hand."