Holidays shaping up as time to work amid celebration

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Holiday cheer will be mixed with a holiday workload.

Workers will have their noses to the grindstone this holiday season, with a scant amount taking time off from work.

Three-quarters of employees plan to work from home the week of Dec. 25, according to a survey by West Unified Communications Services, a provider of communications technologies.

The commitment could backfire. “It’s a good idea to take time off if you can,” Kevin McMahon, marketing director at West Unified, told FierceCEO. “A little bit of rest goes a long way toward refreshing and restoring your energy.”

Still, the survey found:

  • Two-thirds of workers will check email Christmas Day.
  • 42% will check emails one to two times a day when they are off the clock.
  • 11% will check email every hour during a holiday.
  • 38% have taken work calls or meetings during Christmas.
  • One out of five said their employers expect them to be connected if they’re able.
  • 23% said they are working from home this holiday season to avoid getting swamped with emails.

A Robert Half holiday survey found 18% of workers plan to work the entire week of Dec. 25. Of the 67% of workers who will take at least part of Christmas week off, 64% will check in with the office while they're out.

  • One-third of employees plan to take the entire week off.
  • 61% of this group say it's because their organization closes for the week.
  • 79% note their firm pays employees during the closure.
  • For people who plan to work, 81% expect to be at least somewhat productive.

This does not necessarily mean vacation time is being used up. Thirty-five percent say they won't use all their time off this year. The reasons vary:

  • 43% are saving the time for something later.
  • 21% have too much work to do.
  • 15% have no money to go on vacation.
  • 9% feel guilty taking time off.
  • 3% say their boss discourages them from taking time off.

Among cities:

  • New York City ranks No. 1 for planning to use all vacation days; 80% plan to clear out their coffers. Raleigh ranks lowest at 50%.
  • Saving days off to use later is the top priority for Seattle at 61%.
  • In Chicago, 32% of workers cite too much work as the reason they can't break away.
  • Miami ranks first in citing a lack of resources to take vacation, at 28%.
  • In Cincinnati, workers feel the most uneasy taking time off, at 19%.
  • Phoenix tops the list for feeling discouraged by bosses to take time away, at 12%.