Cyber Monday Tips: Ways to Avoid Getting in Trouble for Shopping at Work

Posted on 11/16/2011

Last year Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion according to comScore. That’s a 16% increase over 2009. Sure the deals are great, but there’s one little problem—for most Americans that’s a work day. Research shows nearly half of Cyber Monday money spent originates from work computers. Plenty of people are doing some on-the-job holiday shopping. That can be really risky so here are ways to avoid getting in trouble while shopping at work.

Review Your Company’s Policy Your Chief Information Officer may be watching your online activity closely on Cyber Monday. According to a survey from Robert Half Technology nearly half of CIOs polled say they’re blocking shopping sites and about one-third say they’re monitoring for heavy use. Spending an excessive amount of your Cyber Monday crossing Christmas gifts off your list could result in your termination.

Only Use Trustworthy Sites

The last thing you want to do is open up your work computer to dangerous viruses or security risks. Stick to sites you know you can trust. Not sure which online storefronts fall into that category? Try a free add-on like Web of Trust, a service that shows you which websites you can bank on being secure based on millions of user-experiences.

Don’t Leave Evidence on the Printer

Experts agree that safe online shopping should involve creating a paper trail including order confirmations or receipts. But if you print those out at work, pull them off the printer right away. The last thing you want is for your boss to find your Victoria’s Secret receipt sitting on the printer tray.

Keep Your Credit Card in Your Wallet

Whipping out your credit card is a rooky Cyber Monday mistake. Keep it in your wallet and you’ll be leaving one less clue that you’re actually shopping rather than working. Instead, write the numbers on a sticky note or use PayPal to complete transactions without having to input your credit card information.

Don’t Use Your Work Email Address
Your employer could be monitoring your digital communication so when you complete an online checkout, don’t give them your work email address. Instead make sure receipts and order confirmations are sent to a personal account.

Learn Simple Key Strokes

Need to hide your screen in a hurry? Then practice tapping the Alt and Tab keys together. That will let you flip between screens—let’s say and an Excel spreadsheet—without messing with your mouse.

Use a Mobile Device

Many popular online retailers are beefing up their mobile sites and even creating apps that allow for easy shopping. If you’ve got a Smartphone you may want to use that instead of your work computer on Cyber Monday. Unless it’s a company-issued phone your employer won’t know what you’re up to. Unless you end up bragging in the break room about the good deals you scored.

By Alison Storm

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