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Combining Work And Pleasure

Why go to all the trouble of using your precious free time to shop for the holidays...when you can get away with it at work? Ah, my friends, just as you really shouldn't spend time reading blogs about Balloon Boy Halloween Costumes(go ahead, read it again), corporate America is about to take it in the shorts because you insist of mixing business with shopping pleasure.

AP

A survey conducted for ISACA, a global IT professionals group, says employees plan to spend ALMOST TWO FULL WORKING DAYS shopping online from a computer at work this holiday. Ten percent of them will spend 30 HOURS shopping online from work. That's nearly an entire work week. In this economy, are there still employees who have that much free time?

Methinks there is more room to cut costs.

The ISACA says the average time shopping per employee—14.4 hours—could cost companies "thousands per employee" in lost productivity. Really? Thousands? Seems to me if someone has all that free time, they're not worth much. The survey asked employees why they're shopping on company time. Not surprisingly, 34 percent cited convenience, but 23 percent claimed "boredom". Let me say this again, in this collapsed economy, if employees are bored, I know some people who would love to take their places and give management 100 percent of their attention.

Wait, hold on.

Ok, I'm back. Had to finish a transaction for some stocking stuffers at Amazon . Where was I?

Oh yeah. The ISACA also says that all this shopping opens up corporate computer systems to viruses, spam, and phishing, which would cost "potentially millions in destruction or compromise of corporate data." The survey also found that one in 10 workers plan to shop using a work-related mobile device, like a BlackBerry or iPhone , and that could also lead to problems.

"Employees who shop online using a work computer are also likely to engage in other high-risk behaviors," the organization says. "Survey participants also bank online (51 percent), click on e-mail links redirecting them to shopping sites (40 percent) and click on links from social network sites (15 percent). Yet nearly one in five says they are not concerned that their online shopping habits may affect the safety of their organization's IT infrastructure."

Guilty on all counts.

The ISACA believes this is a war that management has lost, so the group gives employees/shoppers a few safety tips:

1) Use your desktop PC, not your mobile device, to shop, because your desktop browser is likely to be more secure.

2) Protect sensitive information, like credit card numbers, by password-protecting both your mobile device and its memory card.

3) Make sure you update your anti-virus and anti-malware programs continually.

4) Treat social networking sites with the same caution as other web sites, as they are a growing target for fraudsters and virus writers.

5) Be cautious of special offers. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Fake online offers and coupons may lead to harmful sites, so be suspicious.

The ISACA even as a few tips for the IT department, including teaching employees how to protect their computers, and offering a "safe zone" for holiday shopping at work that can be taken offline after the holidays. Wow, talk about surrendering!

By the way, anyone know where I can find some Zhu Zhu Pets? I've spent the last 20 minutes searching, but no luck so far.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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