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If you’re reading this after December 18th in the UK and you’re sitting at your desk working on a pile of work, congratulations! You are probably in the minority.

Traditionally, the start of the week leading up to Christmas is when most workers mentally clock out. Up to 57 percent of British workers admitted to checking this date, according to research by HR think tank Peakon, which was carried out before the pandemic.

Some shopped online. Others were planning Christmas Day or the holiday break. More than 10 percent took longer lunches, and nearly 20 percent left work earlier than usual.

This was by no means just a UK phenomenon. Most workers in the US expected to lose focus at work by December 16, while UK workers took until December 18 and Germans a day or so later.

As it happens, younger workers were more likely to click earlier than older workers. More than a third of 18- to 34-year-old workers in the UK who were looking forward to the festive break would reduce their productivity before 12 December. That figure nearly halved on Dec. 15, according to Peakon, which was acquired by Workday HR last year. program group.

Does any of this matter? For an industry like retail that is heavily dependent on Christmas business, then yes, it’s obviously important.

But it’s a different story for companies in industries that typically slow down towards the end of the year, some of which have not only embraced the inevitability of the Christmas clock, but turned it into a staff incentive.

UK PR agency Jargon has offered its staff a Christmas shopping bonus for the past 10 years, and the firm’s deputy director Kevin Winfield says the perk makes more sense this year.

“For many of our clients, their industries tend to slow down at this time of year, and especially with the pandemic, many businesses have accepted the need to close over the festive period to give their teams time off,” he says.

It is not entirely clear what happened after the epidemic. Workday said it did not follow up on more research that Peakon had done on the Christmas box office.

But there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that, despite the cost-of-living crisis and lingering Covid threat, this year’s holiday season has been even more disruptive than others.

In the UK, social media has been abuzz with images of long queues outside everything from Christmas markets to student pub parties as people flock to events without Covid restrictions.

Authorities in Japan are reportedly bracing for a surge in the number of partygoers hit by cars after falling asleep on the road, as office workers gather for year-end celebrations that many shunned during the pandemic.

Elsewhere, many people are also heading to their first office Christmas party since 2019, with not always ideal results.

There have been reports of a particularly violent Christmas season in Dublin, with people braving fights, drunkenness and vomiting as they took to the streets to celebrate.

There has been more trouble in Australia, where the TV presenter revealed last week that he checked himself into a facility to get help for alcohol problems after upsetting female colleagues at a gathering after an office Christmas party on Saturday night.

“I’m extremely upset and devastated to know I’ve upset my colleagues after our Christmas party,” said Chris Smith, who was suspended from both his Sky News Australia TV show and stint at 2GB radio station after an unfortunate week. in question. Women “didn’t deserve this drunken treatment,” he added.

The fallout from this particular Christmas event was clearly noticeable, but I’d be surprised if Smith was the only person whose December fun ended badly this year.

Ultimately, though, he’s in the minority. Whether you got out early or kept working as busy as ever, this December is the closest most of us will be to getting back to normal in three years. And that’s something to celebrate, even if it takes a while to get used to it again.

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