More employers than ever before will be linking the Christmas and New Year bank holidays for an extended closedown this year, according to an IRS survey of more than 100 employers.
While similar studies stretching back six years consistently show six out of 10 organisations choosing to resume normal business for two or more days during Christmas week, the 2006 survey reveals that at least half of all businesses will close from 24 December to 2 January.
The research, based on a survey of 108 organisations, which together employ nearly 400,000 people, shows – not surprisingly – that almost all businesses suspend normal activity on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with another peak on 1 January.
But for many organisations, work continues, if not as normal then at least uninterrupted. The survey respondents who planned to carry on working over the bank holidays were typically public services, such as the police and hospitals.
Others working while their colleagues celebrate include maintenance staff – taking advantage of the peace and quiet to carry out essential repairs – call-centre workers and many shop workers (excluding Christmas Day itself).
The survey found one company where the finance department would work on in the quiet of an otherwise temporarily abandoned workplace to complete the year-end figures.