4.7 million Brits to work Christmas Day

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HR professionals are part of the 4.7 million people expected to be working on Christmas Day, according to a study conducted by One4all Gift Cards

Its survey of 1,382 UK workers found that, among those expecting to work on Christmas Day, people will clock an average of seven hours, but that nearly one in five (18%) respondents are due to work for more than nine hours.

One4all Gift Cards’ study showed that the people most likely to be working this Christmas are employed in the healthcare industry, with 19% of those in the sector expecting to work on 25 December. HR came in at the third-highest sector expected to be working on Christmas Day at 9%, just after arts and culture at 11%.

In 2014 an Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey suggested those who work in the cleaning and domestics sector are the least likely to work over the Christmas period at only 3%, while care workers and home carers are expected to be the most likely to work on Christmas Day at 23%. The survey also showed that female employees are more likely to be working than male (3.8% of women compared to 2.9% of men).

Separate research from Workplace Insight reported that 40% of UK workers do not have the option to not work on Christmas Day and that, of those who do have a choice, 46% choose to work in order to earn extra income. Not having to work on Christmas Day may not stop people from doing so either, as the survey also showed that 63% of people will be checking their emails from home during the Christmas period.

However, the One4all research also revealed that 33% of respondents enjoy working over Christmas. Seventy-seven per cent said that helping others is the true spirit of Christmas and so for them working is not an issue.

Professor of organisational psychology and health at the University of Manchester Cary Cooper implored organisations that require their employees to work on Christmas Day to make it as pleasant as possible.

“They should be provided with a nice meal and an abundance of support and empathy,” Cooper told HR magazine.

The majority of Christmas Day workers are in the public sector, and this work is often necessary to keep the country moving, he added: “These people are giving up a special family day and should be compensated with extra money. It’s not just another day at work and they don’t deserve to be deprived of the joy that Christmas brings.”

Further reading

Christmas parties should be adapted to suit the changing workforce

Hot topic: Work rotas at Christmas

Winter wellbeing: Top tips for supporting employees

Letters to work Santa

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