Home Shopping Not Work: Survey Finds Telecommuters Shop Online More Frequently Than Office Workers

By Max Mihelich

Mar. 20, 2013

In the wake of Yahoo Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to cut telecommuting as a way to spur in-office collaboration and improve productivity, a new survey from the online deals website CouponCabin may strengthen the argument for Mayer’s controversial decision.

Sixty-nine percent of telecommuters who responded to the survey said they shop online while on the clock when working at home compared with 54 percent who said they still do while working at the office.

The survey also reports that online shopping happens more frequently and for longer periods of time when employees work from home. In fact, 24 percent of respondents said they shop online for an hour or more when working from home, while 13 percent said they do so while at the workplace.

The most likely explanation for this trend, according to the survey, is that 47 percent of telecommuting employees feel less likely to be caught when shopping online in the home office.

“Online shopping is one of many interruptions that can lure workers away from their tasks, whether they’re at home or at their workplace,” said Jackie Warrick, senior savings adviser at CouponCabin, in a written statement. “While taking a break now and then is necessary to remain productive, it’s important for workers to manage their time effectively and contribute to the success of their organization. This is true no matter where they’re physically located while they do their job.”

Almost two-thirds of respondents said working from home allows them to be more productive. Sixty-three percent said they feel less distracted when working from home compared to the office, and 61 percent said they feel more productive when telecommuting, according to the survey.

The online survey was conducted in mid-March by Harris Interactive. Of the 2,047 adults surveyed, 273 had worked from home.

Max Mihelich is Workforce’s editorial intern. Comment below or email Follow Mihelich on Twitter at @workforcemax.

Max Mihelich is a writer in the Chicago area.

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