Office Culture

A professional writer and passionate blogger, Sampurna has been lending her expertise to the online world by penning articles, guest posts and blogs on career, business and employment for a quite some time now. She also an avid reader; loves travelling and photography.

With e-commerce websites going out to woo their customers with offers, discounts and big sales almost every other day through consistent advertisements, the activity of employees spending more time shopping online at work has increased manifold.

You heard it right. Nearly every employee is doing that. While primarily female employees have been observed to indulge in shopping online at work, men are no exception either. A survey conducted by CareerBuilder sought to understand the psychology behind this phenomenon and how does it influence a particular office culture. Does it influence office culture in a positive way or in a negative way?

Well, if we get to see, shopping online at work does have its impact on office culture and employees – for better or for worse. However, for now, let’s focus on some of the statistics about this occurrence.

According to CareerBuilder’s survey, the following were deduced:

55% of employees confirmed that they spent at least some time shopping online at work; up by nearly 50% over the last two years.

“Out of that 55 % shopping online at work, 43% admitted spending one hour or more on an average.”

50% employees said they used their personal smart phones/tablet for online shopping

Industry-wise, employees of financial services and IT companies, indulged more as compared to others. IT (68%), Financial services (65%), Leisure&Hospitality (54%), Sales (63%), Transportation (42%), HealthCare (53%), Manufacturing (40%) and Retail (42%) for shopping online.

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How are employers reacting to online shopping at work?

Statistics reveal that nearly 10% employers have fired some or the other employees for shopping online at work. However, handling the phenomenon strategically depends on a lot of the office culture.

It boils down to two major aspects –

a. The office culture for tolerance and

b. How much time an employee is wasting in shopping online during business hours.

Researches have revealed, employers accept online shopping at work in moderation and often overlooked depending upon the office culture. Often, the company size also matters in this case. If it’s a small organization and almost four–five employees are engaged in online shopping, needless to say, it will hamper productivity and also in the process have a negative impact on workplace culture. However, in bigger organizations which probably has more than a hundred employees – the activity of online shopping might not be a major factor. However, if any employee spends several hours in online shopping (even in a bigger organization) then it is a matter of concern and must be addressed properly.

To allow or not to allow—employers’ dilemma

The challenge faced by organizations regarding dealing with online shopping at work is – to allow or not to allow employees indulge in the activity. Should employers be like Santa Claus or behave strictly like Ebenezer Scrooge?

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Well, while this is an absolute dilemma, some companies are open to the idea of allowing shopping in moderation while some tend to be strict with such rules and regulations. Some employers have even listed some advantages of allowing employees to shop online. These benefits are:

#1. Improved morale

Letting employees cybershop has been proven to boost morale and also ensure employee engagement. Some HR professional also opines that cyber shopping can also enhance a positive office culture. Allowing a few minutes in the day to indulge in non-work activities like online shopping shows employees you recognize the challenges which, they face while at the same time you trust them with their ability to manage time proficiently.

#2. Acts as a stress reliever

On the other hand, individual researches have proven that permitting online shopping at work, often serves as a stress reliever for employees. Allowing online shopping at work especially during holiday and festival seasons can work wonders regarding employee engagement and an enhanced office culture. It can also help employees to maintain a work-life balance.

Well, on a final note it can be said that online shopping has its both pros and cons – for both, the employers and employees. Letting cybershop in modern times is a good idea. However, there should be some moderation so that balance is created and both the parties benefit in the long run including the promotion of a healthy office culture.

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