Will you be logging on this Christmas?

Almost one third of office workers expect to log on to work and check emails on Christmas Day this year, according to a new survey.

The poll of business people by TLF Research for technology firm eShare also found that 47% of those surveyed expect to work and check email on Christmas Eve - which falls on a Sunday this year.

In fact, 20% of those surveyed said they would log on to work every day of the Christmas holidays; and 7% said they would check emails multiple times every day.

Many respondents reported that they were expected to work during the festive period: 35% said that their clients expected them to be available over Christmas; 36% said colleagues expected it of them and 34% also said they expected their colleagues to work over Christmas.

However, the findings also show that many people say they don't mind doing a bit of work during the Christmas holidays:

  • 44% said it was more relaxing to know what's happening at work;
  • 40% said it was vital they know what's going in the business;
  • 15% said working gives them a chance to sneak away from their family;
  • 14% said they worked at Christmas because they get bored;
  • 10% said they enjoy work and don't feel the need to take a complete break.

"The way many of us live and work now means that taking a complete break from the office is neither desirable nor practical for a great number of people," said Alister Esam, ceo of eShare. "While traditionalists might lament the changing Christmas work habits, if it helps people relax to quickly check urgent email, or even take time from the festivities to draft an urgent document, then is there really a problem with that?

"While business certainly slows down at Christmas, modern businesses trade all over the world and with many countries and cultures not celebrating Christmas, it stands to reason certain people within an organisation will need to be contactable and on top of anything that might be happening."

The poll found that 40% of respondents saw themselves as conscientious by logging on over the festive period, while 18% admitted they wanted to show others that they were working hard.

"Logging on to look busy is daft and will fool no-one," said Esam. "But if people feel obliged to work over Christmas - by clients, co-workers or management - then that is where problems can emerge. If it is essential for people to work over Christmas, then involving HR to agree what is expected and confirm possible time in lieu is a positive step in managing this potentially thorny issue."

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