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Dec 23, 2011 7:58 PM by Andy Koen

More American workers shopping on the clock

We're spending more time and money online these days. American shoppers are expected to spend upwards of $37 billion this holiday season in online purchases alone.But new data suggest all of those e-transactions are coming at the expense of employers.

The technology staffing firm Robert Half International surveyed 1,400 chief information officers of large companies and found, "some employees were doing as much as 4 hours per week shopping online."

Division Director Jason Moyes said their data also showed a growing number of companies that have blocked access to online shopping sites. Of the companies polled, 60 percent said they completely block internet shopping sites.

The sharp growth of online spending surprised some holiday shoppers at the Citadel Mall.

"Four hours on the internet? No, couldn't do it," said Alex Bobbitt. "That's way too much."

But to other shoppers, 4 hours per week seemed low. "I believe it, even my employees, I'll catch em on eBay and shopping around on Craigslist all day long," said Mike Schmidt who owns a computer repair business.

He takes the lack of work in stride. "As long as your job is getting done, I don't mind," Schmidt said. "Everybody needs to shop especially for Christmas time."

Moyes says getting your work done should come first, but he thinks companies shouldn't completely cut their employees off from the internet.

"It's important that you listen to your people, also there's other way to reward and motivate people during the holidays, maybe offer them some extra time off, some flexible schedules so they can get that shopping done."

He recommends that employees buy rather than browse online and he cautions using a smartphone to get around an internet shopping policy. He also warns against clicking on deals that seem too good to be true as they may launch a virus or malware attack on company computers.

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