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Working the Holidays – Who’s Working?

Today we’ve published the results of our most recent Harris Survey “Despite Weak Economy, Desire for Time Off During the Holidays Remains Strong”.  Seventy-five percent of respondents said they plan to take either the same amount or more time off than they did last year.

Only 19 percent of respondents said they plan to take less time off this year.  Of that 19 percent, the top reasons they gave for cutting back on their time off were: to earn extra money (33 percent);   because they are facing new restrictions on taking time off than they did last year (21 percent);  because they are saving their vacation time to use in 2009 (20 percent); and due to worries about job security (19 percent).

This year’s “Working the Holidays” survey also showed an increase in the practice of giving employees the entire time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This year, 20 percent of respondents who work full time say their office will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day as opposed to 18 percent in 2007.  A New York Times story published on Sunday found this to be an increasing trend as well, with recession challenged organizations across the US seeking to reduce operating costs while pushing employees to use their paid time off benefits to cover the gap.

There is an upside to this story.  Despite all the turmoil and anxiety surround our collective economic fate, most people are still choosing time with family during the holidays over face time at the office during what is arguably the least productive work week of the year.

What are your holiday plans this year – and what impact will our uncertain economic climate have on those plans?