The true working habits of employees during the holidays

The workplace is feeling the strain during the holiday season.

With workers jetting to remote locations milking the rest of their vacation time or just aloof from the holiday buzz, the minds of your employees are likely elsewhere right now. From thinking about last-minute online orders before Christmas to making sure travel plans to the in-laws are in order, a third of employees admitted they are distracted during the holiday season, according to a new study.

Workplace website Hibob found that workers in the office are often thinking about holly-jolly times, with more than 70% of workers admitting to spending their work time on personal holiday shopping. Perhaps that number is a byproduct of more than half (56%) of workers planning to either work part-time or full-time during the winter season.

Hibob CEO Ronni Zehavi said managers should find the right balance with workers, especially since nearly half feel the burden of picking up additional work while some colleagues squeeze in a last-minute vacation before the end of the year.

“Employees are very likely to judge a company’s culture based on how leadership approaches this season, which gives managers and HR teams an opportunity to shine,” Zehavi said in a statement. “Embrace flexibility and acknowledge that your team has other things on their mind, so be realistic with your goals and plan ahead to ensure no one individual feels they have to take on the burden of the holidays.”

Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility.

With nearly half of workers feeling stressed during the holidays, HR leaders and managers don’t have to be saints during merry times— but there are things that will make workers feel more appreciated like flexible schedules.

One in ten people said they take advantage of accommodating work schedules more often during the holidays, according to the study. By offering workers the chance to work remote or even lessening a workload, managers can control the workload by finding the right balance for everyone where one worker isn’t doing all the heavy lifting while others are out enjoying themselves.

If you’re planning on working remotely during the holidays, experts suggested a few tips like downloading files for offline use, charging devices before travel, and more in order to work efficiently whether traveling with your family or working in a quiet space that isn’t your office.

All I want for Christmas is … more emails?

With the holidays comes downtime — needed or not — for family and friends, gift-giving, the bad Christmas movies, et al. While most Americans do in fact have off Christmas Day, workers tend to check their emails and work-related apps as the day goes on.

Data compiled by Okta dug into digital trends from workers across Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s since 2018, finding that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the two days during the holiday season where workers switch off. While data gathered does in fact show workers are logging less into apps by over half at any given time, workers are still taking a peak or two with family and friends around.

Across all holidays, researchers found different trends. The days before Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s resulted in the highest app-based usage, with workers maintaining a work presence specifically on Thanksgiving Eve due to workplaces not necessarily having off. That meant at 8 a.m., workplace active users were down just 15% and while the number rose to about 26% at 5 p.m., it’s much smaller compared to the other holidays.

Data shows that workers disconnect the most on the day of the actual holiday with Christmas Day being the most popular, followed by Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. Researchers pointed out New Year’s Day specifically which showed how as the day progressed, workers were switching gears and anticipating the next workday, as logins increased by 30% from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

From an app-specific breakdown, data shows that applications like Slack, G Suite, Amazon Web Services (AWS) decreased in usage by more than 83% across all major holidays. However, there was one constant — people were still checking their email via Microsoft Office 365.

Usage decreased by as much as 42% at 5 p.m. on the email platform.