IBJNews

Employers brace for Cyber Monday

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Borshoff Inc. has a very relaxed Internet-usage policy, and managers typically look the other way at personal Web surfing as long as employees finish their work on time.

So it’s a safe bet at least some of the 43 workers at the Indianapolis public relations firm will spend at least a little time searching sites for sales during “Cyber Monday.” That’s the Monday after Thanksgiving that ceremoniously kicks off the online holiday shopping season.

They won’t be alone, however, if one study is any indication. More than 53 percent of workers with Internet access, or 68.8 million, are expected to shop online that day, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.

Business owners and human resources managers alarmed by the high number might be concerned about the pitfalls that might follow, namely loss of productivity and security breaches.

Borshoff’s owner said she's much more concerned about offensive Web sites, inappropriate e-mails and system-threatening e-mail attachments than about lost work time resulting from Internet shopping.

“We’re happy to support commerce, and we certainly recognize that people like the convenience of being able to shop online,” Myra Borshoff said. “I do it myself.”

Experts encourage companies to adopt at least some sort of rules governing Internet usage, whether they’re lax or stringent, to make it clear what is forbidden and what is tolerated.

Susan Kline, a partner in the local law firm of Baker & Daniels LLP who practices employment law, cautions, though, that prohibiting all usage at work may be a bit harsh.

“In this computer age, that’s not very practical,” she said. “The question is, how much is too much?”

The obvious answer that experts commonly cite is: when usage indeed interferes with workplace duties. Employers also might consider adding a privacy policy, Kline said, that does not protect computer usage. Employees then can’t proclaim a right to privacy if they’re caught looking at a lingerie site, for instance, Kline said.

Mellissa Boggs, vice president of human resources and consulting at Indianapolis-based Quantum Human Resources LLC, embraces the “reasonable-use” policy as well.

“If employees are doing their jobs and getting their work done, it’s probably a non-issue, in most cases,” she said. “If it’s an employee on the fence, it could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Other organizations, such as the United Way of Central Indiana, hold their employees to a higher standard. They’re allowed to peruse the Internet, but only during non-work hours, and must sign a policy agreeing to the terms upon their hiring, said Kennethe Vaughn, the United Way’s director of human resources and diversity.

“For us, it’s a tool for doing business,” she said, “and we want our employees to use it properly.”

Meanwhile, online holiday retail sales will reach $44.7 billion, up 8 percent from 2008, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research analysts predicted. That compares with a 5-percent increase in online holiday retail sales a year ago.

“Despite the lingering effects of the recession, the online space remains the retail industry’s growth engine,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester e-commerce analyst.

The segment embracing online shopping the most, of course, is young adults ages 18 to 24. Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed said they will shop at work, with more men than women indicating they would do so.

Overall, the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation is projecting overall November-December sales to slip 1 percent from last year, to $437.6 billion.

The decline is well below the 10-year average of 3.3-percent growth. Yet the expected 1-percent dip is not as dramatic as last year’s 3.4- percent drop in holiday retail sales.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.

  2. IU has been talking that line for years with no real progress even with the last Dean, Dr. Brater. Why will an outsider, Dr. Hess, make a difference? With no proof of additional resources (cash in the bank), and a concrete plan to move an academic model that has been outdated for decades with a faculty complacent with tenure and inertia, I can count on IU to remain the same during the tenure of Dr. Hess. One ought to look to Purdue and Notre Dame for change and innovation. It is just too bad that both of those schools do not have their own medical school. Competition might wake up IU. My guess is, that even with those additions to our State, IU will remain in its own little world squandering our State's tax dollars. Why would any donor want to contribute to IU with its track record? What is its strategy to deal with the physician shortage for our State? New leadership will not be enough for us to expect any change.

  3. How do you think the Bridges got approved? I spent a couple days researching PAC's and individual contributions to some city council members during that time. My printouts were inches thick on the two I concentrated on. Finally gave up. Was disgusted with all the donations, and who they were from. Would have taken me days and days to compile a complete list. Tried to give it to the Star reporter, but he thought it was all just fine. (and apparently he was treated well himself) He ended up being laid off or fired though. And then of course, there was land donated to the dad's club, or city, as a partial payoff. All done in the shining example of "charity." No, none of these contributions are a coincidence.

  4. I agree what kind of help or if any will be there for Dr. Ley's patients. I was a patient myself.

  5. What about the hundreds of patients who sought this doctor for the right reasons, to quit drugs. what option do these patients now have, experience horrible withdrawl or return to heroin?? those are the choices. what about the children of these former addicts who's parent(s) WILL not b able to maintain their job, for @ least 2 weeks.. There needs to b an emergency clinic opened for these patients.

ADVERTISEMENT