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Why You Should Be Shopping Online Right Now Instead of Working

Today on Cyber Monday, we kick off a month of credit card swiping and sale scouting, as well as the start of a frenzy of gift swaps, holiday parties, cubicle decorating contests, potlucks and other ongoing disruptions to the workday.

With revenue and productivity at work still top-of-mind for management, all of the blinking bulbs, tacky sweaters and sprinkled cookies can’t calm the fears of managers this time of year. Someone has to be the office Grinch, right?

Maybe not. What if what looks like unproductive behavior can actually be exactly what your team needs this time of year?

Reframe Your Perspective on Holiday Productivity

Shopping at work, working from home and cramming to meet quotas shouldn’t be your main concerns during this time of year. Instead, embrace the challenges of the holiday season as opportunities to:

1. Beat holiday burnout with restorative breaks. In moderation, holiday shopping and personal errands offer just the freedom and stress relief that employees need to reenergize and restore from the holiday bustle. By helping them avoid traffic and checkout lines on their break, you keep employees at their desks.

Research shows that pleasurable activities, like cyberloafing, act as much-needed chill time from to-do lists. Whereas the fear of harsh consequences might create even more holiday stress, a relaxed policy for soothing shopping during the workday is like a mini vacation.

Plus, by allowing online shopping at work in moderation, you get to set the guidelines. Aside from using web filters to limit sites to designated hours, you can even help employees avoid cyber security risks to protect both users and the company network.

2. Try new ways to motivate your team. In fact, you can turn these midday breaks into a new kind of incentive for your team.

Try new ways to motivate teams within the frantic environment that is the holiday season, like creating weekly goals with new incentives. For example, when your team completes a project, give them the afternoon off for holiday shopping.

Focus less on the productivity loss of holiday parties and gift giving and more on how to promote teamwork and focus during the rest of the workday.

3. Turn holiday distractions into employee engagement. Capitalize on the holiday cheer in the air by boosting employee morale with a little “unproductive” holiday shopping.

Surveys say as much as 72 percent of holiday shoppers use social media to make purchasing decisions, so let them shop collaborate. Instead of fearing the chatter about deals and hot gifts, direct it to your team workspaces or company intranet where employees can share gift lists and crowdsource the best deals.

About 27 percent of CIOs say they never restrict shopping sites and another 42 percent already allow monitored access, according to a new Robert Half Technology survey. Besides, the holidays aren’t the only distractions for employees; between vacations, March Madness, Apple webcasts and the summer slow-down, turning distractions into productivity is a year-round fight.

Need help harnessing your inner idler for good? Follow PGi on Twitter and keep up with PGi’s blog this month to learn how to be strategically unproductive this holiday season.

About Ashley Speagle

Ashley Speagle is a Florida-born, Georgia-raised communications specialist, couch movie critic, dream interpreter, acrophobic adventure seeker, outdoors enthusiast, and easy-going introvert.

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