Here Come the Holidays – Ready or Not - American Society of Employers - Susan Chance

Here Come the Holidays – Ready or Not

It seems like just a minute ago it was January. Now summer, with all of its holidays and vacations, are gone and Halloween is just a memory. We are heading into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all of the other holidays that come between now and the end of the year.

Most people have plans to make and shopping to do along with preparing homes for celebrations and guests. So how much of this activity is happening during working hours or taking time off for the holidays and all of the preparation that goes with them?

One study showed that productivity increases when employees have the option to work remotely, when employees have a flexible schedule, and there are office closures during the holidays.

With Covid, many employers moved to remote work for the health and safety of the workforce. While some companies are now requiring employees to come back to the office, sometimes with negative consequences, employers who keep remote schedules may see less requests for time off at this time of year. Employees who want to spend time with loved ones and can work anywhere, need less time for travel and can work during the day while still having time for friends and family after work hours and on the weekends. In turn, this helps to prevent disruptions to productivity.

Allowing some flexibility to employees’ schedules can also lead to less requests for time off. When an employee can start and end their day earlier, they don’t have to stress about attending important events such as holiday programs at their children’s schools. If an employee has holiday tasks in the middle of the day, allowing them to start earlier or work later to make up the time can not only lessen stress on the employee, it also helps to improve employee morale and increase productivity.

When companies can and do provide extra time off for the holidays staff has increased job satisfaction and increased productivity.

While so many benefits can come from the various options for time off, 51% of 2,000 full-time employees surveyed say they are not comfortable asking for time off during the holidays. Managers should be trained to handle the complexities of holiday scheduling, so employees are not stressed about asking for time off. Managers also need the tools to provide time off in a fair manner when work has to continue. Most people want the day before and/or after a holiday off, so scheduling can be tricky. For example, employees who have children may want more time off to spend with their families, but that does not mean employees who don’t have children don’t have other family members or friends to spend time with. Employers cannot discriminate in their decisions for time off.

In a survey where 8 out of 10 respondents were parents, 72% reported they have seen employees treated unfairly because they don’t have children while only 67% said the same for employees who do have children.

Managers have quite the balancing act in order to make sure work is covered while doing their best to maintain positive morale and production. Employers can help by offering staff the option to work remotely, to work a flexible schedule, or have office closures during the holidays. Employers must also make sure their management is well trained to handle schedules properly, especially at this time of year.



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