Do holidays really hinder productivity at work?

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With shortened workweeks, holiday parties, gifts to buy and hectic family schedules, it can be especially difficult to concentrate on work during this most wonderful time of the year. But even though most of us will have a lot more on our plates over the next few weeks, the holiday season — especially the week right before a holiday break — can actually mean greater productivity at work, according to a new survey from Accountemps.

The survey, which polled more than 300 senior managers, found that 32 percent believed that employees were actually more productive during the holidays, and 44 percent noticed no difference in productivity levels.

Kathryn Bolt, an Accountemps executive, attributed this to many people working better under pressure.

“Although the results may seem surprising at first, it is evident that the need to stay focused and get as much work done as possible before [a holiday] break is a priority amongst many employees,” Bolt said in a statement. “To enjoy the season’s company parties, family festivities and other activities, it becomes greatly beneficial to put in that added effort during the work hours leading up to the break.”

Worried about how you’ll get all your work done with less time at the office? Here are a few tips for prioritizing.

Keep a calendar visible. Write down every holiday party, break and family obligation on a calendar, along with any important work deadlines, and keep it on your desk so you can easily determine your priorities and goals.

Let clients and co-workers know your schedule. Give your clients and co-workers at least two weeks’ notice if you will be out of the office, so any requests they have won’t be last minute. When you are away, set up an out-of-office e-mail message, with instructions on who clients should contact with any urgent requests in your absence.

Get enough rest. The late nights and/or cocktails that usually go hand-in-hand with holiday parties can spell disaster for your productivity at the office the next day. While one night of overdoing it won’t kill you, burning the midnight oil more than once a week will wreak havoc on your work efficiency. Make it a point to leave weeknight parties before they cut into your sleeping time.

Ask for help. If you feel like you have too much on your plate right before an event or break, ask your manager to help you prioritize. If you find yourself with extra time on your hands, offer a helping hand to a swamped colleague.

Work from home. As a last resort, if you really can’t seem to get your head above water before you leave for a holiday break, bring home a project that can be worked on while you’re out. Though it’s never fun to work on vacation, bringing some of your work home may actually help you relax while on your break, since you won’t be so stressed about what awaits at the office. Just be sure that your work doesn’t interfere with your holiday fun.

Is your holiday schedule already hectic? How do you think it’ll effect your work? Let us know in the comments section.

Want to know whos hiring for the holidays? Check out:

The seasonal hiring forecast, plus where to find a holiday job

Get hired during the holidays

3 Comments
  1. The survey results may not be applicable to non-managerial positions. I believe people are in the holiday mood and are less eager to do extra work. Especially if the work involves interacting with a few others, some of whom might be out on vacation. For those who have to get some work done, though, the suggested tips seem appropriate. I’m looking forward to the shopping aspect of the holidays. Check out http://www.SharedMall.com – a free site where you can sell within your local community and shop locally during the holiday season. There’s some job opportunities there as well.

  2. Pingback: Holiday gifts for co-workers : The Work Buzz

  3. Pingback: Freshers Yaar! » Blog Archive » Holiday gifts for co-workers

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