Jobhop Jobhop's blog : How to Survive Being Stuck at Work Over the Christmas Holidays

Jobhop Jobhop's blog

Are you one of the few people who have to work over the holidays while everyone else gets to spend Christmas at home?

These days it seems that more and more companies are staying open over the Christmas holidays in the run-up to Christmas and from December 26th to January 2nd. And that means more and more people will be stuck in the office when they would rather be with friends and family.

If you're one of these people, whether you volunteered for the lonely shifts or your job is one that you have to be at work in case of an emergency, here are some things that you can do to make the most of your time at the office...

Make it count

What's worse than working during the holidays? Working in the holidays and being so distracted or unfocused that you don't accomplish a single thing.

It can be hard to be productive if you're one of the few in the office, or if you really want to be celebrating with the rest of the world, but, believe me, you will feel much better about being at work if you make the most of your time there.

Write a list of tasks you're hoping to accomplish during your shift and tick them off one by one as you complete theme. Not only will you feel extremely productive, but the time is guaranteed to pass quicker than if you spend the day sending mopey texts to your friends who are off work and imagining the festivities you could be enjoying.

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate

Sometimes, working over the holidays is unavoidable. After all, can you imagine what would happen if every police officer, taxi driver, doctor, and nurse insisted on taking Christmas off? That said, there's always a little room for negotiation. Depending on the nature of your job, ask your boss if you can work from home. If this isn't an option, enquire about splitting your shifts so that you only have to work for half of the holidays.

And if you absolutely have to be in the office for almost the entire Christmas period, ask about getting extra time off over the next holiday to make up for it. The promise of a long weekend over the new year or a few days to spend time with your family might make working now a bit bore bearable.


Be sure to set out a plan to be as productive as you can during the festive season, meaning: achieving maximum customer satisfaction and staying focused to increase productivity. Ensure that you're on your best form with a proper plan because without one, you're likely to have a serious burnout resulting in a negative effect on your productivity.

Also, make sure that you communicate with your family and friends. Tell them that you'll be working and negotiate with them to celebrate the holidays around your work schedule. Receiving calls during work will only destabilise the focus from your plan.

Revise the to-do list

Everyone has those projects that fall to the back burner due to fast approaching deadlines and tasks that demand attention right away. Take this time to revisit old lists of projects and conquer those that you left behind, crossing off items that have been waiting for weeks or even months.

Talk to each other

While office chit-chat can seem counter-productive, getting to know your colleagues is actually a healthy and balanced way to get through the work week. Stop by a co-workers office you may not usually talk to and see how their festive season is going.

Out with the old

Take this time to decide what campaigns and projects worked this year, what didn't, and why. Eliminate ineffective strategies and replace them with new ones in order to start the new year with a fresh start.

Avoid social media

Okay, so you're in the office over the holidays, and chances are that you're feeling a bit bored and maybe even lonely. Your natural tendency is probably to log onto Facebook or kill a little bit of time scrolling through your Instagram feed on your phone.

Big mistake.

Looking at pictures of everyone else celebrating with their friends and families will only get you down in the dumps. If you have to, leave your phone in the car or turn it off and put it in your coat pocket. 

Instead, when you feel like you need a break, grab a bite to eat or go for a short walk. You will stay positive and focused, and you will avoid falling victim to that dreaded 'poor me' feeling that comes from looking at photos of all your friends having fun without you.

Bounce off your co-workers

If you're in a customer-facing retail job, you will definitely feel the need to rant or giggle about an experience at some point along the line. Having people around you who can fully appreciate your work situation is always useful, but during the chaos of Christmas, it can be a godsend.

Having those strong working relationships will make the day go much quicker and happier. So, use your colleagues to lean on, to laugh with and to vent off steam in the stock room if you need to!

And the biggie: smile!

Never underestimate the power of a warm, friendly smile. The more joyful you act, the more joyful you will be and the more joyful you will make others around you. We know it can be a struggle, but Christmas is supposed to be about spreading Christmas cheer, remember?

While others are off stuffing their faces and squabbling with the family, always look for the silver lining...

Working during the Christmas periods has its upsides. It sounds unlikely but bear with me.

It sounds unappealing - but that's until you think of the pity of others that you can wallow in, the opportunities to escape the chaos of Christmas at home, and the procrastination you can get away with at work. Here are some of the unexpected upsides to what may look at first like a huge festive downer...

You will actually get a seat on your commute

Okay so you're probably not too thrilled to be working during the festive season. But what if we told you that your commute was about to change from the worst part of the day to the part where you get a whole train or bus to yourself? Not only will you have the opportunity to listen to the loudest, most irritating music you own (cue: the cheesy Christmas songs), you will also be able to do all the things you've wanted to do on your way to work. Quick nap? Check. Feet up? Check. Not having someone's sweaty armpit directly on your face? Check!

It will show that you're dedicated

When it comes to impressing your boss, working over the Christmas holidays is up there with one of the best gifts you can give. Because nothing says you love your job like going the extra mile. And in addition to showing them you're dedicated, you will also be able to demonstrate that you're a team player. After all, offering to work over Christmas is essentially doing your co-workers a favour. For this reason, you may even be put forward for progression opportunities as well as exciting new projects or responsibilities.

You will have free reign of the office

If you're based in an office, you're probably one of the few people that come in during the festive period. Not only does this mean you'll get to enjoy a few days without any annoying colleagues or unreasonable requests, you will also be able to do whatever you want. No one is around to mess with the thermostat, use up all the milk or tell you to turn your music down.

So listen to all the Christmas songs, dance like nobody's watching and eat with your mouth open. Come on, it's CHRISTMAAAAAS.

You: 1. Work: 0.

Everyone is in a good mood

Your immediate thought probably wasn't 'going to work', but you might be surprised at how the holiday season can positively influence people's moods - both you colleagues and your customers. After all, nobody can say that hearing the phrase 'Merry Christmas' doesn't make the feel all warm and fuzzy inside - even if it is over and over again, in songs, from your friends and even from strangers on the street.

Also, since there is not a lot to do in most workplaces during the festive season, everyone will probably be happier than ever. Very few emails, hardly any calls, and even fewer meetings mean you can get on with your work at lightning speed thanks to zero distractions. 

No one really wants to get stuck at the office over the holidays, but by finding other ways to celebrate and making the most of your time at work, you're able to survive the experience without feeling like a total Scrooge. 

Working during the Christmas period needn't leave you frazzled. Good luck and enjoy the ride! 

JOIN Jobhop and spread the word. 

Kyria Bush

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On: 2017-12-14 15:50:04.489