Americans Intend to Check In Over the Holidays, While the UK Has Already Checked Out

Americans Intend to Check In Over the Holidays, While the UK Has Already Checked Out

Although more than four in ten US employees are planning to take a vacation over the coming holidays, most Americans will remain either fully or partly connected to their jobs during the last week of the year, according to a Gallup survey released on Monday:

This holiday season, 43% of U.S. workers say they plan to take a vacation during the holidays, and of that group, roughly half — or 21% of all workers — will completely disconnect from work. Meanwhile, 22% of workers will be taking a vacation but checking in with work via email or other means. …

U.S. workers are more likely to say they plan to take holiday vacation time than they were when Gallup last asked the question, at the beginning of the millennium. The 43% of U.S. employees who plan to take vacation time this holiday season is up from about a third of workers (34%) in 2000. Even with the increase, a majority of U.S. employees (57%) are not taking vacation time around the holidays.

Even if employees are in the office, the last week of the year is a notoriously slow time for many businesses as so many employees (and clients) are either on vacation, distracted by holiday events, or simply not working very hard. This has prompted some commentators to argue that businesses should simply shut down between Christmas and New Year’s Day rather than endure a guaranteed low-productivity workweek.

In the UK, meanwhile, a survey by Peakon finds that 57 percent of employees are either formally or informally finished working for the year, Sara Bean reports at Workplace Insight:

The HR analytics firm’s survey of more than 2,000 people reveals that, as Christmas creeps ever closer, employees admit to a whole raft of distractions from their everyday work duties. Two in five people (42 percent) confess to clocking off to Christmas shop online, a third (35 percent) say they’re planning Christmas day and almost one in three (30 percent) are planning their Christmas break instead. One in six (16 percent) confess to indulging in the odd Christmas tipple on the job – with men twice as likely to take advantage of a festive drink than women (22 percent and 11 percent respectively). 17 percent of those surveyed leave work earlier than usual, and one in 10 (12 percent) take longer lunches. A small percentage (4 percent) confess to calling in sick. But offering staff more flexible hours for shopping and Christmas prep would help maintain performance.

When asked why they’d slacked off, one in five (21 percent) respondents said they were simply ‘too excited’ to focus. A third (32 percent) said they had too much to plan ahead of Christmas day, 21 percent admitted to feeling ‘burnt-out’ and a fifth (19 percent) said workplace festivities such as Secret Santa or the office party were to blame. One in three (32 percent) said it was simply the case that business has slowed down and there’s less work to do at this time of year.

So if you’re reading this post in the first week of January. We understand.