Accountemps Survey: One-Third of Managers Agree Employee Productivity Drops Around Holidays, But Worker Output Seen As Better Today Than in Past Years

Nov 17, 2010, 08:00 ET from Accountemps

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Whether it's decking the halls or planning for parties, the holiday season brings with it a host of distractions for workers. It's only natural, then, that one-third (34 percent) of senior managers surveyed recently by Accountemps said their employees are less productive the week before a major holiday. This compares to 44 percent of executives who cited pre-holiday productivity declines in a similar survey five years ago.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.

Managers were asked, "In your opinion, are employees more or less productive the week before a major holiday?" Their responses:

Much more productive


Somewhat more productive


No difference


Somewhat less productive


Much less productive



"Offices are often less productive during the holiday season than at other times of the year because of company parties, family festivities and other diversions," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "It can be challenging for employees to strike a balance between personal and work obligations."

Accountemps offers five tips to help employees juggle multiple priorities during the busy holiday season:

  1. Make a list, and check it twice. Examine deadlines for upcoming major projects and adjust them as needed due to holiday schedules. Check in with coworkers on their vacation plans to avoid unexpected delays or setbacks due to employee absences.
  2. Tie up loose ends with a bow. Don't leave people hanging while you're away. Before leaving the office early to attend a seasonal function or departing for holiday vacation, update your voice-mail and e-mail auto responses, and show coworkers how to find critical information.
  3. Exchange the gift of time. Delegate time-sensitive tasks and responsibilities to colleagues to take them off your plate and offer to return the favor when they're out.
  4. Make merry selectively. Prioritize the events that are most important to you, and don't feel pressured to attend every holiday function. Likewise, even if you aren't traveling for the holidays, you can still take time off to shop, plan meals or attend to other year-end tasks.
  5. Remember, Santa's not the only one with helpers. If your department is spread thin, consider interim staff to help with year-end projects. A staffing firm can help you identify skilled candidates.

Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at Follow Accountemps for workplace news at For Accountemps' take on year-end, watch our new video on relieving work overload:

SOURCE Accountemps