Employees shopping online could use up as much as two full days of work time this Christmas, according to a recent survey.
A report from MARC Research and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) suggested that workers will spend an average of 14.4 hours shopping online from their work systems, and 10 per cent will spend upwards of 30 hours.
The main reason given for shopping online during work time is 'convenience', cited by 34 per cent of respondents. Boredom was the second most common reason, at 23 per cent.
Managers and IT professionals have long debated the use of social networks, shopping sites and other personal online activity. While personal web use at work is often frowned upon, and sites such as social networks are often banned, studies have suggested that non-business internet use can also help boost productivity.
Security has also been a major point of contention, as many popular social networking and e-commerce services are popular cyber-crime targets.
ISACA noted these risks in its analysis of the study, and suggested that, rather than attempt to lock down systems and block all access, IT administrators should educate users on safe web surfing to prevent fraud and malware infections.
"With the internet now available to almost any employee in the workplace, it is unrealistic to think that companies can completely stop the use of work computers for online shopping," said ISACA international vice president Robert Stroud.
"What companies can and should do is educate employees about the risks of online shopping, and remind them of their company's security policy."
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