Spend Money While You Earn It

Shopping while your employer tracks your every point and click doesn’t sound like the best way to stock up for the holidays.

But it remains a wildly popular one — even as firms adopt increasingly sophisticated systems to monitor workers’ online activities.

Increasing broadband at home and restrictive internet usage policies at work haven’t made a discernable dent this holiday season in employees’ penchant for shopping online while at work.

Last week marked the unofficial start of the online holiday buying season for many retailers, with traffic to retail sites up approximately 9 percent from last year, according to tracking firm Hitwise. More than half of weekday traffic since the Monday after Thanksgiving, according to measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings, has come from workplace internet users.

«It’s as strong as ever,» said NetRatings retail analyst Heather Dougherty. «Once they get over the Thanksgiving hump, they’re ready to do their holiday shopping. Monday, they can’t help but keep it going, even if they’re at work.»

Companies are growing more accepting of the idea that workers will fritter away part of the workday shopping online, according to…

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