Many office workers will barely take a break this Christmas, with research revealing one third expect to work and check email on Christmas Eve.
It found that 20% of those surveyed said they would log on to work every day of the holidays, with 7% doing so multiple times every day. As many as 47% expect to work on Christmas Eve.
The results suggested that some business executives are simply not fans of Christmas. For example, 14% said they worked during the festive period because they get bored, while 15% said working gives them a chance to sneak away from their family for a bit.
Rest and relaxation
Results that highlighted the ‘always on’ and 24/7 culture we live in revealed almost half of respondents (44%) said it was less relaxing for them to be unaware of what might be happening at work. 40% said it was vital they knew of anything important going in the business, while 10% said they enjoy work and don’t feel the need to take a complete break.
It would also appear that more than a third of workers felt it was expected of them to work during the festive period. As many as 35% said that clients expect them to be available and 36% said other colleagues expected it of them. This was mirrored in that 34% also expected their colleagues to work over Christmas.
“The way many of us live and work now means that taking a complete break from the office over Christmas is neither desirable nor practical for a great number of people,” said Alister Esam, CEO, eShare. “While traditionalists may lament the changing Christmas work habits, if it helps people relax to quickly check urgent email, or even take time from the festivities to draft an urgent document, then is there really a problem with that?” he argued.
“Most frequently it will be the business owners or board level executives at large firms that feel the need to stay in touch, but there are ways to manage Christmas work so that it doesn’t become all consuming. Perhaps ringfence some time each day to check emails if required, or even try and work offline, catching up on work reading and making edits and annotations to reports and documents that will show up later. Being online can be distracting at the best of times, so working offline means you avoid that distraction and aren’t tempted to respond to non-urgent emails.”
For appearance sake
Of those who log on over the festive period, 40% said they felt they were being conscientious by doing so. Others had ulterior motives for Christmas working – 18% were using ‘presenteeism’, and wanting to show others that they were working hard.
“Logging on to look busy is daft and will fool no-one. But if people feel obliged to work over Christmas – by clients, co-workers or management – then that is where problems can emerge,” concluded Alister Esam. “If it is essential for people to work over Christmas, then involving HR to agree what is expected and confirm possible time in lieu is a positive step in managing this potentially thorny issue.”