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Send everyone home for Christmas – nobody’s working anyway

🕐 2 min read

If you’re running a business, you might as well shut up shop for Christmas now. More than half your employees might be there, but they’re not putting their heart into it.

“Christmas seems to be starting earlier every year,” said Dan Rogers, co-founder of Peakon, a Danish startup that collects and measures data on employees.

A survey by the company found that 54 percent of British workers mentally check out for the holidays by Dec. 16.

At the younger end of the workforce, the great Christmas check-out comes sooner. Already Friday, six in 10 millennial workers have switched off, compared with just 40 percent of baby boomers, the survey of 3,000 workers found. It takes until Dec. 20 for the lion’s share of older workers.

“It’s extremely hard to concentrate on tasks when you’re excited about meeting up with loved ones, socializing and being merry,” said Lorraine Black, 28, an internal auditor based in New York for an insurance and investment company.

She’s not putting things off on purpose, but she knows she’s less productive. “Realistic managers aren’t in denial,” she said. “It’s not the ideal situation for them but one that they experience and have to accept nonetheless.”

In the run-up to Christmas, it can seem like just about everyone’s sneaking onto Amazon or trying to find the perfect gift.

Some employers are giving in, offering employees a day off for shopping so that they won’t do it on company time. London-based company Jargon PR gives workers “bonus Christmas shopping days” every December.

“We offer this so the team know they have a day dedicated to shopping without having to use [vacation days] or cram things in during the working day,” said Simon Corbett, managing director.

There’s less work, Corbett says, because clients are taking off anyway. The insouciance inevitably spreads.

“I try to make sure the team enjoy the build up with regular socials, Christmas [sweater] days and a few long wet lunches,” Corbett said.

For working parents, school holidays can also be a blunt on productivity. Most British schools let out for the holiday break today. Some parents take days off, but battling with co-workers for prime vacation real estate is easier said than done.

With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, many office workers won’t have to work beyond the 23rd.

“Inevitably it’s more difficult to be as productive or have as much continuity,” said Carly Donovan, who manages a team of employees at Monitor Deloitte. “At my work, generally, when people are in, they’re in, and are still very productive and on it.”

Anyway, you should probably get back to work. Christmas is just over a week away, and leaving your to-do list unfinished until 2017 is a surefire way to kickstart an unhappy new year.

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