With at least six public holidays over the next two months, and even more if you have a generous employer, it is hard not to get excited about the holiday season.
A new survey by finance, accounting and technology specialist recruitment firm Robert Half reveals that it takes an average of two days for Hong Kong employees to recover after returning from the holidays.
Of the 100 human resources (HR) directors surveyed, 58% said it typically takes one to two days for staff to resume normal work routine after being on holiday while 29% said it takes three to four days.
However, the holiday season can also be a stressful time for some employees due to family obligations, shorter work weeks, and colleagues who are in the holiday mood.
“The end of the year can be particularly stressful for accounting and finance professionals, who are managing year-end closing, tax-season preparation, financial reporting requirements and other cyclical initiatives," says Pallavi Anand, Director of Robert Half Hong Kong. "As a result, time-off requests from colleagues can create a burden for those who are left to do the work.”
When asked how workloads are managed when team members are on holidays, the top three approaches cited by the HR directors were: delegating responsibility to the team’s manager (54%), delegating tasks to other employees (49%) and putting projects on hold (42%).
“To ensure that work does not fall behind schedule, companies should ensure that their staff have the resources needed to complete their projects. Departments that are spread too thin can consider hiring temporary or contract staff to help with year-end projects,” said Anand.
Anand added that empathy and gratitude can go a long way. “An understanding team leader should be able to notice when someone on the team is showing signs of stress. The team leader should acknowledge concerns and come up with a plan to handle the situation.”
“It’s also important to acknowledge and reward hard work. Rewards for job well done don’t have to be costly to be effective. Offering time off from work, highlighting accomplishments on the company’s intranet, or offering a heart-felt ’thank you’ can be very motivational for employees who have worked hard to achieve their goals," she said.