The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day typically finds employees distracted—if they’re at work at all. Add in typical year-end business, such as closing the quarterly or annual books, and it’s a wonder anyone gets anything done. Head off a big productivity slump by anticipating these three problems.
1. Get ready for
Expect to see more empty seats around the office as the holidays approach.
In a CareerBuilder.com survey, a third of employers reported that workers call in sick more often during the winter holidays. Reasons: Cold and flu season is in full swing as the weather gets cold. But 29% of employees have admitted to using sick days to take care of holiday shopping, run errands or visit with family.
Heads up: One study predicts that one in five employees will call in sick the day after the office party because of a hangover.
2. Expect an expense claims flood
Dec. 21 is the busiest day for submitting expense claims, says Concur, a company that manages travel and expense claims for employers. The number of claims made on the shortest day of the year is typically 132% above the average as employees rush to put cash back in their wallets ahead of the holiday break.
Concur’s data also reveal a 19% increase in the number of expense claim submissions during the two weeks before Christmas, which further adds to the huge pressure faced by accounting teams that may already be overwhelmed by the usual year-end financial wrap-ups they also have to deal with.
3. Manage online shopping
Some reports estimate that employees spend an average of three hours a week shopping online while they’re supposed to be working during the holiday season.
If that’s OK with you, let the staff know when and for how long managers will tolerate it. Your IT team can monitor employees’ computers to catch excessive online shoppers.
Or, IT can put the kibosh on the practice by blocking access to online shopping sites. Nearly half of companies do, according to Robert Half Technology.