WORKPLACE / DEC. 24, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How Many Work On Christmas Day?

It’s increasingly common for people to head online on Christmas Day to begin hitting the post-Christmas sales (or to try and flog that pair of socks granny gave you on eBay).  Whilst not the most sociable of activities, it does at least still qualify as a leisure pursuit.

How many of you have to work over Christmas though?  Recent stats suggest that around 172,000 of you were working on Christmas Day in the UK alone, with that trend on the increase.

This is often made even sadder as most workplaces will do all they can to get into the Christmas spirit, putting up decorations, playing Christmas music, maybe even having workplace festivities; all the while some poor employees will be stuck at work on the day itself, depriving them of the chance to spend it with their loved ones.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise, though, I suppose.  After all, work is increasingly creeping into so many other aspects of our lives.  It’s rare to be able to go on holiday these days without punching in to check your emails now and then.  Evenings and weekends have long since ceased being pure leisure time, whilst many in the western world are even getting less sleep than they used to, all because of the ever encroaching spectre of work.

When we frame things in this kind of way, the forced joviality of many an office Christmas party can come across as something of a bad joke.  Heck, even traditional rituals like an after work pint on a Friday evening doesn’t seem quite the same if it doesn’t really mark the end of your work each week.

What qualifies as work?

Of course, the issue is made all the harder by the difficulties inherent in classifying what is work and what isn’t.  Obviously there are many who are officially working on Christmas day, but how many will try and sneak a peek at their emails when the kids get a bit annoying?  How many will be so weighed down with the stresses of work that they can barely think of anything else?

Now, it’s probably stretching things a bit far to suggest that they may be some connection between companies spending on Christmas festivities for staff, and the expectation that many will log-in during the festive season, but may be not that much of one.

After all, it’s increasingly common for companies to provide lavish facilities for employees, whether a canteen staffed by top notch chefs or a fully laden gym.  Whilst these are partly designed to improve employee engagement, they’re also no doubt there to ensure that employees stay at work even longer.

I’d love to hear your experiences of Christmas.  Will you have to work over the festive period or are you voluntarily going to get a few bits and bobs done?  Are you so stressed about work that you’re finding it difficult to mentally switch off?

Share your experiences in the comments below.

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