Without a doubt, there’s a seasonal effect on people, especially when the holidays roll around. Employees react to the most wonderful time of the year by prioritizing their family and vacation time, and usually, these behavioral patterns go unnoticed or unassessed. We surveyed 1,000 US-based workers to discover their holiday habits and determine what really matters most once the festive season strikes.

We found that time off comes heavily into play during the holiday season, but even those employees still sitting in the office find their minds wandering into festive territories. Check out these few habits and practices your people are employing during Winter break.  

Working remote 

Your people likely want to experience the seasonal snow and chilly winds from the comfort of their home, sipping hot cocoa next to a fireplace bundled up. That’s why 56% of US workers plan to work either part-time or full-time during the winter season and 19% of those satisfied with their current job plan to work from home more during the holidays. They also want to spend time with their children or families who surely take advantage of time off from school and their work responsibilities, and we can’t say we blame them. 

However, when the general working population was surveyed, regardless of job satisfaction, 58% said they would not work remotely because their company does not have a flexible work from home policy. Only 13% surveyed said they would remote more during the holidays than the rest of the year. 

*This year give your people the gift of remote work and you’ll find that your people’s productivity, motivation, and work-life harmony will improve greatly. 

Online shopping

Waiting to purchase gifts for your loved ones until the last minute is highly ill-advised. But, one of the best perks of living in the digital age is that we can shop online and find what we need within a matter of seconds, to be delivered right to our doors. It’s like the new-age Santa Clause! Except, Amazon doesn’t come down our chimney.

Our survey did find, though, that 70% of workers admitting to spending their work time on personal holiday shopping. Moreover, one in three admits to being distracted during the holiday period. Online shopping at work is almost inevitable, so companies shouldn’t be surprised when internet surfing amplifies during the Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanza timelines. 

*This year give your people the gift of gamification or other incentivized perks! You’ll find that creating a game that rewards people with gift cards, or playing Secret Santa, will keep them engaged and present (literally) at the office, and they’ll spend their rewards offline. 

Extra effort for those absent 

People plan on using their paid vacation time during the holidays. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with the family and get some rest and relaxation that prevents burnout or caters to the wellbeing of your people. However, some colleagues feel as if they get stuck picking up the slack for those who getaway during Winter break. 

When surveyed, 42% of people feel that they must work harder during the holiday season to make up for other people taking a vacation in December. It’s crucial to encourage flexibility for employees who haven’t taken time off; about one in ten people will take advantage of flexible work schedules more often during the holidays. 

*This year, give the gift of flexible hours to those still in town for the holiday season, and you’ll see that their productivity dip will be rectified. You’ll also see that by offering flexibility during the holiday season, managers can balance time off more easily and make sure no individual taking on too much while their colleagues are out. 

Spending the holidays at the office, whether it’s part-time or full, doesn’t have to startle people off of their work-life balance totem. Instead, HR can create experiences that support team-building during the most festive days of the year to boost morale and encourage a celebratory mindset. More than 90% of employees feel the holidays should be celebrated at work anyway, and gift swaps or ugly sweater parties with eggnog are creative ways to help your people bond. 

That’s what the holidays are about, right? Regardless of online shopping and who’s working remotely, we should still feel connected and merry together. 


from Stephanie Stevens

Stephanie is Content Marketer at Hibob. She has a background in Clinical Psychology and Crisis Management, and enjoys abstract painting and watching horror films in her spare time. She believes that people can connect with themselves, their peers, and the world around them through creative writing, helping them foster a deeper sense of self and their life goals in the process.