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North Americans Stay Productive in the Holiday Season

December 9 2006 - A recent survey suggests worker productivity will be maintained as the holiday season approaches. The Adecco North America 2006 Holiday Survey, part of the Workplace Insights Series, found two-thirds (67 per cent) of 1023 workers questioned (511 men; 512 women) said they will not be spending any time shopping online during business hours. Of the remainder, 26 per cent estimated that they would spend less than six hours online. The majority of respondents (79 per cent) were not planning to take a personal or sick day to shop during the holidays.

Most respondents (85 per cent) planned to attend their office party. More than half (54 per cent) claimed to enjoy them or said they wanted to connect with colleagues; only 28 per cent felt obligated to accept because their boss expected their attendance. While only 7 per cent overall felt under pressure to give their boss a gift, 26 per cent of those who had not completed high school admitted to this additional source of stress compared to 4 per cent of graduates.

The researchers suggest some ways in which employers can encourage productivity during the holiday season:

  • Set Expectations - Managers should set the tone and communicate key tasks to be undertaken during this time of year. This could include planning for 2007, reorganizations or completing outstanding projects.
  • Holiday Stress Workshop - Work-life balance is especially difficult to achieve in the holiday season. Providing office lunch-and-learn sessions with a professional consultant to offer practical strategies can help management of personal and professional stress.
  • Institute Y-D-Os - Employees feeling overworked and stressed can be offered a Y-D-O (or 'Your Day Off') at their manager's discretion.
  • Show Your Appreciation - Personalized gifts or a department dinner is a positive way to acknowledge effort and hard work.

Ray Roe, president of Adecco North America said:

"The holiday season is a unique time for workers, as the line between personal and professional activities and behavior is often not as clear cut as they are during the rest of the year. It is important for workers to be cognizant of this and to maintain their level of professionalism and focus on work priorities regardless of the date on the calendar. This doesn't mean that employees shouldn't celebrate or take personal time, but they need to be sure that a positive impression and professional rapport remains before, during and after the festivities."

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