Employers across the nation have become more lenient with their policies regarding online shopping at work, according to a new survey from Robert Half Technology.

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Of the 2,400 chief information officers (CIOs) that participated in the annual survey, 27 percent said their companies allow unrestricted access to shopping sites, representing an 11 percent jump from last year and a 17 percent increase since 2012.

Another 42 percent said access to shopping sites is allowed, but their employees are monitored for excessive use.

"In past years, clients were way more restricted and wanted to make sure that their employees were not able to do any online shopping throughout the year, not only during the holiday season," said Christina Giglio, a Robert Half Technology branch manager in Princeton.

Giglio said employers are recognizing the need for "flexibility" in the weeks leading up to the holidays, and online shopping is one way to help.

"It actually frees up their time of not having to run out of the office for an extended lunch break," she said, noting less restriction can also improve worker morale.

Another 30 percent of CIOs said their companies completely block access to online shopping sites.

John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology, said workers should do their best not to abuse the policies that allow online holiday shopping.

"It doesn't reflect well on any professional to be seen bargain-hunting rather than attending to business at hand," Reed said.

The group advised workers to log out of any shopping accounts before leaving for the day in order to protect their personal information on a company computer.