You know it’s Christmas in the Philippines when you hear jingles everywhere you go, see decorations inside shopping malls, and experience heavier traffic than usual—the kind that takes place even if it’s neither Friday nor a payday.
Despite these inconveniences, Filipinos generally still love the season and the traditions that come with it—noche buena, buenas noches, Christmas ham, queso de bola, fireworks, reunions with friends and family. For overseas workers and balikbayans, it’s a source of joy as they get to see their loved ones again. For students, it means a break from school and a chance for vacation and travel.
For regular employees, joy arrives in the form of 13th month pays, but frustration sets in over having to work for a couple of days between the Christmas and New Year break. They are unable to fully enjoy the break with their family or have time to take a proper vacation. So why do employers keep making their employees go to work during this period despite knowing that no work gets done?
Unless your business’ peak season is coincides with this period like it does for malls, retail shops, hotels, and restaurants, having your employees work in this season is a waste of money.
This may not hold true for all businesses, but it's more likely to happen than not: Companies are having their Christmas parties, managers and decision-makers are on leave, or have completely shut down their operations. So why would you have your employees come in this period? Is it because of company policy? Or because they need to log in hours as basis of their payroll?
If you have an answer that doesn't point to company policy, then you may have to rethink how you look at performance. (It’s about results and relationships; it’s not about the number of hours you log.)
Ideally, companies could use this time to strategize and get next year’s work done early, but this doesn't realistically happen for a number of reasons:
- Managers typically go on leave the entire holiday period.
- The team members can’t strategize by themselves because there is no input from the manager. Their ideas might end up getting overridden anyway.
- Planning is already scheduled mid-year or around early Q4.
So this reasoning already doesn’t hold any water. Companies already allot time for that planning session. Unless the managers also come in during the holidays, then the rank-and-file employees really doesn’t have any reason to come to the office.
As for getting the work to be done for next year done in this period, the question that needs to be answered is why not do that beforehand? You do your packing and travel preparations when you take a vacation. You arrive at the airport early because to avoid getting. So, why let important work bleed through the holidays?
Another reason why employers should stop having their employees come in during the Christmas holidays is that they are only rewarding inefficiency and chaos.
Think about it this way: No value-adding work gets done during this period. So what work is left to be done? Cleaning and filing. Fooling around. Ordering food and drinks. Are you paying salaries just to clean and file? Are you compensating employees for non-value adding work?
If you’re willing to pay your employees’ salaries during this period either way, tell them to finish everything beforehand and they’ll get a paid break. This way, you are rewarding a behavior for being productive and meeting their deadlines—in this case, before the holidays.
If you don’t want to pay them because they won't get much work done, then just tell them you are shutting down your operations. Even if they don’t get paid, they’ll appreciate it the gesture because they can spend more time with their families.
These are a couple of reasons why you should stop making your employees go to work during the Christmas holidays. Unless you have a really good reason to come in this period, like having a sudden rush of customers, shut down your operations. Your employees will thank you for it—and you deserve a little break too.