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Welsh public servants reprimanded over e-commerce use

06 January 2012 - 09:54 by Graham Miller

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People employed by a number of councils across Wales have apparently been enjoying a little too much safe shopping online during working hours, as the South Wales Echo has discovered that e-commerce sites are some of the most regularly visited pages on local authority computers.

A list of one hundred sites which receive the most traffic from council workers include sites like Amazon, Next and Argos and the paper was able to learn about the popularity of online shopping after putting in a freedom of information request.

In a statement, the councils pointed out that there is a strict usage policy which governs internet access for any employee who is browsing over the authority's internet connection.

The statement also said that retailers' sites were usually visited during breaks or after peak periods of work, suggesting that most employees were doing a little online shopping over lunch, rather than compromising their productivity levels at other points in the day.

Managers at Cardiff Council warned employees that there could be disciplinary action taken against anyone who is an excessive user of e-commerce sites on a work web connection, along with any other inappropriate online areas.

The Christmas shopping period will, doubtlessly, have contributed to the popularity of online shopping while at work and some studies suggested that people could spend up to 120 minutes a day looking for bargains on the internet from their desk.

Although it is certainly interesting to see that council workers have managed to put sites like Amazon into their most visited 100, it would not be too much of a stretch to assume that similar studies of other organisations would reveal largely identical results, particularly in the aftermath of the festive period when online shopping was a wildly popular activity.