We’ve just released the results of a survey entitled “December: Vacation-Heavy Month Light on Attendance” that we conducted with Harris Interactive to assess planned absenteeism among US workers during the upcoming holiday weeks. Not surprisingly, 63% of those polled plan to take time off between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. What is surprising is that a relatively small proportion of those planning to take time off will have cleared that with their managers through an online request process. Even though a recent BusinessWeek Article “Shirking Working: The War on Hooky” indicated that more and more employers are looking for more effective and automated ways to proactively authorize and plan for employee absence, only 20% of those polled indicated that they had to request their time off through an automated system.
What are employees doing more of online? Holiday shopping. How do employers deal with this phenomenon? In a recent Christian Science Monitor article titled “Why Go to the Mall When You Can Shop at Work?” employer reactions range from those who closely monitor and restrict internet access by employees to those who leave it up to the employee’s judgement as long as the job is getting done.
For those employees who do work during the holidays – as a matter of necessity or personal preference – many find that they are super productive during a time that meetings are few and they can focus on projects that are hard to complete with frequent interruptions. Whether working during the holidays is voluntary or not, however, managers would do well to acknowledge those who remain on the job when 2/3 of their colleagues are enjoying some downtime.