No rest for the weary this holiday season

Office parties and other festivities are common this time of year, but so, too, are an abundance of year-end projects. Seven out of 10 (70 percent) professionals surveyed said their workloads either increase or stay the same during the holidays.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm, and is based on telephone interviews with 539 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

"In many industries, multiple projects must be completed before the close of the year, making it an especially busy period," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies. "Many employees also take vacation days during the holidays, which can leave fewer staffing resources available."

Workers were asked, "Does your workload typically increase, decrease or stay the same during the holidays?" Their responses:


Increase 28%
Stay the same 42%
Decrease 26%
Don't know 4%

Accountemps offers the following advice to help managers keep projects on track during the busy holiday season:

  • Plan with your team. Allow adequate time to prepare for major year-end projects and set clear expectations for the group and about each individual's specific role.

  • Schedule time off strategically. Maintain an employee vacation calendar to determine if you will have enough staff on hand during the holidays and where potential time-off gaps may exist. Make the schedule available to the group so they can see when colleagues will be out of the office.

  • Seek interim assistance. If your department is spread thin, consider interim staff to assist with end-of-year projects. Have employees who are taking time off prepare transition materials to help temporary professionals get up to speed quickly.

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