When it comes to surfing the Web for holiday gifts this season, most workers plan to browse on their own time, a new Accountemps survey shows. More than seven in 10 (71 per cent) professionals surveyed said they are not planning to shop online while at work.

Employers’ relief, however, may be short lived: Those who said they will be hunting for holiday bargains during business hours aren’t doing it half-heartedly. These individuals plan on spending, on average, 3.1 hours each week checking items off their holiday lists.

The Canadian survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals, and was conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion.

Workers were asked, “During the holiday season, will you shop online while at work?” Their responses:

Yes ……………………………… 29%

No ……………………………… 71%

Those who answered “yes” also were asked, “On average, how many hours a week will you shop online at work for gifts during the holiday season?” The mean response was 3.1 hours.

“The current economic climate has had many office workers doing more with less, requiring them to remain focused on their job responsibilities regardless of the season,” said Kathryn Bolt, president of Accountemps’ Canadian operations. “Employees whose workloads have them stretched thin may not feel they are able to indulge in online shopping.”

For those who do shop online from the office, Bolt cautioned, “While many employees are given some leeway over the holidays, it is important for workers to familiarize themselves with their company’s policies, which often prohibit visiting non-work related websites.”