Cyber Monday Survival Tips for the Office

The Monday following the Thanksgiving weekend is called Cyber Monday due to its popularity for online shopping, at home and at the workplace. How and when you shop online at home is your business, but shopping online at work is your employer’s business.

All employees should exercise caution on Cyber Monday. Sharon Jautz, a human resources executive, warns, “In tough economic times slackers and non-producers are the first to be let go. Don’t lose your job over online shopping!”

Charlie Graham, founder and CEO of Shop It To Me, an online personal shopping site, said, “In June, we conducted a ‘Shopping Habits Survey’ of more than 900 women from across the U.S. When it came to online shopping at work, 63% of respondents admitted to doing so — even though 20% say they had to sneak to do it!”

Use these tips to minimize your risk. Remember that the very best way to avoid a reprimand from your boss is to shop online on your own time.

1. Use personal shopping sites to save time (and money).

Graham says, “Shop It To Me can minimize your online shopping time to a matter of minutes on Cyber Monday by providing you an email that details all the new clothing, shoes, and accessories retailers put on sale in the sizes you’re interested in among your favorite brands and designers. At around 9 a.m. EST, your personalized ‘Salemail’ will arrive, and can scroll through it quickly to see if there are any markdowns of which you want to take advantage.” This can help you plan your day and your budget ahead of time.

On other shopping sites, such as Amazon , you — and your family and friends — can create wish lists that you can share with one another, to expedite online shopping. Amazon , among others, also has a one-click, check-out option to make the process even quicker.

2. Take advantage of sales and shop at off-hours.

Graham recommends, “Arrive at work early on Cyber Monday to do quick sales checks. Then, shop on your lunch hour, during breaks, or at the end of the work day.” He also suggests that deal hunters follow a few of their favorite stores and brands on Twitter so they can quickly assess if any new sales or hot items become available during the day.

3. Collaborate with your colleagues.

If you cannot be online for a particular sale or auction but a trusted coworker can, consider asking them to make a purchase for you. You can also consult with colleagues to determine if an item or sale is even worth your attention. Shop It To Me’s Graham revealed, “One of our subscribers in Houston recently told us that she and her coworkers take quick Shop It To Me breaks in the mornings during which they?d review their Salemails and discuss items they saw and coach one another on whether it is time to pounce or let a sale pass.”

4. Watch what you shop for.

Human resources expert Jautz, who has worked for several major media companies, including Conde Nast and Forbes, warns, “Avoid purchasing non-business related gifts from the office whenever possible. If you need to make a purchase online, do it very quickly and infrequently. And remember don’t purchase anything from a potentially offensive website. Visiting questionable sites on a work computer can be reported to management and could cost you your job.”

5. Keep your purchases out of the office.

“The people who manage the company mailroom are not your personal elves — they are there to ensure products and correspondence related to company business move in and out,” says Jautz. Have items shipped to your home.

Don’t want to your partner or spouse to guess his gift? “Have any surprise gifts shipped to a relative, friend, or friendly neighbor,” she states.

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