The Pros and Cons of Working over the Christmas Period

Working over the Christmas can be a controversial issue, working parents, Paul and Megan discuss their pros and cons.

The decision of whether to work the Christmas period and who will take what annual leave when can often be a controversial issue within the office. There's the issue of people without children or those from non-Christian backgrounds often feeling put upon to provide the cover, while those with young families may assume they have some kind of unwritten preferential entitlement.

In addition, some employees will have no holiday days left, while for others their contracts may be the use-it-or-lose-it type where holiday days have to be taken by the end of the year. But for those with a choice of whether to take the whole Christmas period off, there are some great reasons to do so - as well as a compelling case to work a few of those precious days.

The Case For Working Over the Christmas Period... by Paul

  • The period from Christmas Day to New Year is often 'dead time' in the office when it's ghostly quiet and this makes it a great opportunity to get backed-up admin, training and HR tasks done, clear the desk and grab some valuable brain-space for strategic planning and goal setting for the new year.
  • Let's face it, there will probably be less pressure than other normal days throughout the year!
  • It is often the case that a company needs to have someone 'in' the office, but if this can be done remotely, you may be able to provide cover at minimal disruption to your own life - and save a valuable holiday day.
  • If you are able to carry over leave, it opens up holiday days for the following year.
  • If it genuinely doesn't matter that much to you, then working a few of those days may enable some of your colleagues for whom it means more to have Christmas off and they'll (hopefully) be very grateful.
  • Whisper it, but going into work for a day or two over this intense family time may even provide a welcome break from constant catering, bickering, building of impossible presents etc and even whisk you away from any annoying family staying with you!

The Case Against Working Over the Christmas Period... by Megan 

  • Depending on your role and the stresses involved in the run up to this period, you may genuinely just need a solid break that's not interrupted by random work days flipping your brain back into work-mode.
  • There are very few clubs for children over this period, so unless you have partners, friends and family willing to look after your children, then it makes it very difficult to arrange. (Don't forget you can use Back Up Care!)
  • It's normally a quiet time at work so it's a good period to take off as there won't be as much to catch up on when you get back and you won't miss any critical meetings or key decision-making opportuinities.
  • It is an excellent use of leave to bridge the Christmas and New Year bank holidays to get a longer period of holiday than the actual leave taken.