According to one expert, employers are beginning to realize that long work weeks require a change in policy regarding personal use on office computers.

Claire Simmers, Ph.D., co-author of “The Internet and Workplace Transformation,” says she has seen a recent shift in corporate attitudes concerning employees who shop online at work.

“When you spend over 40 hours a week at work, it’s no surprise that employees turn to their office computers to get some holiday shopping done,” says Simmers, chair and professor of management at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

She believes instead of focusing on workers shopping on the company’s dime, employers should turn their attention to performance outcomes.

“We’ve got to get away from basing performance on those eight hours,” says Simmers. “If an employee spends an hour surfing the Net, but an entire weekend working on a report, there should be trust that both are equally benefiting from this relationship.”

She adds that all employers need to accept that their workforce might also use their personal cell phones or PDA’s to shop for gifts.

“With mobile technology, it’s a whole new ballgame,” says Simmers.

“Instead of holiday shopping on the company computer, many employees will use their personal technology to shop for gifts. For an employer to police that kind of activity is nearly impossible.”

Source: Saint Joseph’s University