A new survey by Youmanage, the online HR toolkit for managers, shows that almost all UK managers (92%) worry that their staff are having too many sick or duvet days after excessive celebrations in the run up to Christmas.
The Youmanage survey asked 200 UK line managers to rate their biggest concerns about Christmas celebrations. Taking too many sick days was the largest concern amongst managers, yet 85% of managers also worry about whether – or not – to hold an office party.
Perhaps, these worries were justified, as 77% of their colleagues said they were concerned about handling fall-out from the office Christmas party. The same number (77%) were also worried about how and when to pay their staff Christmas bonuses, whilst 71% of managers were concerned that their staff spent too much company time doing their Christmas shopping online, instead of work related activities.
Interestingly though, only about a third (31%) of managers rated excessive online shopping as their biggest single concern. Dealing with fall-out from the office party and employees having excessively long lunch hours and returning to work “under the influence” of their refreshments shared joint second place as the biggest single concern for managers as Christmas approaches.
Whilst managers may be concerned about employees having long lunches, fewer than half of those surveyed (46%) were concerned about large expenses for “client” entertaining. Interestingly too, even fewer managers were concerned about inappropriate dress for the office party (39%) and only 23% said they worried about offending non Christians over the festive period.
The survey also produced some interesting anecdotes: many managers had endured boring office parties, dealt with drunken colleagues and experienced disciplinary issues as a result of Christmas parties. However, there were far more reports that the real spirit of Christmas is alive and well in UK business. Several managers recounted great experiences of surprise Christmas presents and senior executives’ generosity over the festive period.
Phil Brown, managing director of Youmanage who commissioned the survey commented: “The survey’s results were fascinating and a real insight into the complexity of today’s workplace, where managers spend the run-up to Christmas worrying about such diverse things as handling excessive sick days and whether to hold a Christmas party.
“It also showed that Christmas can be a double edged sword for most managers and how they handle the season’s multiple challenges can have a year-long impact. Celebrating at work is a great opportunity to foster goodwill and build relationships within a company, but handled poorly, the results of the festive season’s celebrations can be additional stress and tension.”
Phil added: “Problems tend to occur where there is lack of clarity and/or consistency. The key to minimising potential issues is to agree company-wide policies and guidelines, communicate them well in advance so there is no room for ambiguity, and then apply the policies consistently and impartially.”