Working Around the Christmas Tree

The holidays are among us. Christmas trees crowd the entrance at Target and holiday sweets stock Publix’s shelves. The planning and preparations have begun and for most of us, work turns into a whirlwind until the end of the year. As many of us get ready for the seasonal break, we begin to think about taking extra time off.

In Ireland, they began their Christmas holidays last week, and are looking at a four-week break, returning to work on January 12th. In the United States, that length of vacation time is virtually unheard of.

Besides a handful of national holidays, the typical American worker gets about two precious weeks off out of a whole year to relax and see the world -- much less than what people in many other countries receive.

For many Americans vacation just means you work from somewhere else. Only 57% of U.S. workers use up all of the days they're entitled to, compared with 89% of workers in France, a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Some U.S. companies don't like employees taking off more than one week at a time. Others expect them to be on call or check their e-mail even when they're traveling home for the holidays.

“Managers and executives have smart phones with 24 hour access, and it is encouraged to ensure work / life balance, but with the responsibility to monitor any emergencies / issues that need to be immediately addressed,” says Rebecca R. Totten director of human resources at Triad Isotopes. “Front line team members are not expected to check email or answer calls while out of the workplace.”

So what are a few tips to avoid adding stress to your fellow co-workers and managers when you are starting vacation a day or two early?

“Plan ahead,” JB Himmer recommends director of resource planning for UCF Foundation, Inc. “Try to only assign the employees that are working the essential deadline-oriented tasks. Have the employees on leave communicate in advance what needs to be done so there are no surprises. And try to have fun!”

Himmer says her office usually plans a potluck or games in the conference room so the staff that is working enjoys the holidays also.

While the holidays can be stressful, it is important to respect your time off. Take the break to rejuvenate and reflect. Prepare your office for your departure and tie up loose ends, but remember to relax and enjoy the time off.

- Stephanie Bruha, Operations Manager at Kavaliro

Kavaliro Employment Agency, has offices in Tampa, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida and can make sure you find the right people for this important role. We are ready and waiting to help you anytime and look forward to hearing from you.