For the first time since 2007, the Fourth of July came on a Wednesday. And with it, a whole bunch of staffing, productivity and other operational challenges.
In some ways, it seems as if we had three Fridays in a single week. We had the actual Friday before the holiday week, June 29, which shouldn’t have been that big of a factor given so many of us had to work Monday and Tuesday.
Then there was a second Friday, in the form of the Tuesday before the Fourth.
And finally, we will have another actual Friday, the Sixth, coming during a week that was shortened by at least one day for most, and by more for others.
So the least productive day of the week, according to research, comes ostensibly three times in a week.
Of course other holidays, such as the bookends to summer, Labor Day and Memorial Day, always come on a Monday.
That makes the three-day holiday scenario much easier for sure.
But for this midweek holiday, when all factors are considered, it might mean more than just the loss of a single day of work when it comes to measuring productivity.
Right around Christmas of 2010 Accountemps released this survey that found lots of distractions for workers around holiday time.
In fact, the survey said one-third (34%) of senior managers find employees less productive the week before a major holiday.
34% of senior managers find employees less productive the week before a major holiday.
More recently, Mercer Consulting released their Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines report, which provides an overview of employee regulation and employment practices across 62 different countries.
The report found a big disparity for example in vacation policies and mandated days off for national holidays and the like.
In the UK, for example, employees are entitled to 28 days off. With the UK also holding 8 public holidays each year, this suggests that employees in the UK could be off for 36 days, or 10%, of each year.
Workers in Austria are entitled to 25 days of statutory holidays and 13 days of public holidays.
According to Wolfgang Seidl, Head of Mercer’s Healthcare Consulting business, “Despite continued economic turmoil, interest in the issue work/life balance continues to grow.”
The U.S. and Canada are among the few countries around the world with no mandated holidays. Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? Or is it not inherently one or the other, just different?
And even though we might not have a big national mid-week holiday coming up again any time soon, I still thought it was worth visiting the subject.
In a broader sense, does anyone have any best practices or lessons learned they wish to share about keeping workers engaged and productive right before holidays?