The Perks and Pains of Employee Appreciation Over the Holidays

July 1, 2014 Deb Broderson

The phone rings. It’s your boss and you just got the bad news. Looks like you’ll be working on a special project, and that will impact your holiday plans.  Even though freedom will be ringing and fireworks will be blasting from the skies above, the fact of the matter is: this is America. Now, let me be more precise. According to Forbes the United States does not guarantee paid holidays. In fact, the U.S. is the only advanced economy in the world that does not offer a set number of paid holidays. It’s really up to an employer’s discretion to decide your working schedule throughout the year: holidays or no holidays included.  The real question is how to keep an environment of employee appreciation through this type of request.

Of course there are pros and cons to any dilemma. Let’s think of the pains of working holidays first:

  • Family time reduced. By working on holidays you compromise family time. Perhaps this is the one day out of the year that your entire family can get together, and you’re the Scrooge who has to ruin it all. What will your kids think of you? What kinds of names will your relatives call you behind your back: workaholic, no-time (wo)man, or my favorite “eat. sleep. work.”
  • Lack of appreciation. It’s easy to feel under appreciated zero employee appreciation when you are asked to work holidays, especially if you give 110% every day. You may be wondering if you are valuable to the company and, if so, why you are not rewarded with a day off. We all need a handful of days off each year in order to revitalize, refresh, and realize that we are being recognized for our hard work throughout the year.
  • “But everybody else is doing it” Syndrome. Knowing that your loved ones have the day off and are celebrating without you may be a difficult concept to process. It doesn’t help that they send you a thousand pictures of your cat dressed up in red, white, and blue confetti streamers, or texts asking where you are or why you’re at work, either. We all want what we can’t have, and knowing that everyone else is having fun without you is an exhausting let-down. We’ve all been there.

Now, the perks of employee appreciation:

  • Money. It’s what makes the world go round. And guess what? Working that extra holiday once a year may get you lots of it. The satisfaction that comes with knowing you are getting paid double may give you that extra boost of motivation you need to finish the workday and make sure your family can have that great Fourth of July barbeque you’ve been planning for Friday night.
  • Movin’ on Up. Have you been hoping for a promotion, extra vacation days, or other various perks? By taking the initiative to work holidays and not complain, you’re showing your boss and your colleagues that you possess an unmatched dedication to your work and a desire to contribute to the overall success of the company. This attitude is crucial in building your credibility and reliability within your given organization.
  • Future Holidays Off. Odds are if you work one holiday, you have dibs on the next. Most companies have a rotational system whether it be implemented or assumed where in which employees get a fair trade of days off for holidays. For example, if you work on Independence Day, perhaps you will be able to take off Christmas Eve that same year. Plan your working holidays accordingly to get maximum benefit out of your yearly holiday plan.

There are two sides to every story. Stay tuned for management vs. employee perspectives on the issue of working holidays, and what solutions are available to find that happy medium needed for your employee appreciation solution.

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