Working on Holidays: A Good or a Bad Idea?
Have you thought about how many people and businesses work on holidays? Hospitals and emergency services don’t close on holidays, airports continue working as on any other day. And there are also the restaurants, the medias, the public transport and many more. Working on holidays isn’t a new thing and is very important for our society. Still, while for some professions it’s basically a part of the job description, for others it can vary depending on the industry or company policy. Below we explore the factors that justify or oppose working on our precious holidays.
Who should be working on holidays?
Unfortunately some professions don’t have a choice. While we all celebrate Christmas or Independence Day, many people go to work so that our society would continue operating as normal. Sectors like public heath, public safety, public and cargo transport, media, airports, gas/charging stations, some government structures – they all need to ensure the big machine never stops. Working on holidays is a requirement of the job with a good reason behind it. This is why people working in those sectors accept it even though they may not enjoy it. Of course the opposite is true for people working in resorts and other popular travel destinations. Working on holidays is what those places are all about. But they are more of a special case. 🙂
In other sectors companies don’t really need to work on holidays, but it can be really good for the business. Such are the restaurants, retail stores, hotels, gift / flower shops, entertainment centers, etc. They benefit from holidays because most of the people like celebrating and spending time in those places. Eating, shopping, traveling and relaxing are the perks of going on a holiday. So it’s a win-win situation – if you work on holidays, you’ll have more customers, and you’ll all be happy. Unless you are the employee who drew the short straw…
And there are the sectors and industries where there’s no immediate need for holiday coverage. Usually here are all businesses who don’t see any tangible benefits of covering the holidays, or the cons outweigh the pros. That is, unless it’s a special case like a one-time request from an important client. For example, a book publisher doesn’t usually need to work on holidays because it doesn’t provide day-to-day services. Of course, something could go really wrong with the publishing process. Or it’s a very important book and the client doesn’t agree to a deadline extension. But that’s not very likely to happen. In this category also fall the service and repair centers, most of the government structures, small shops, software companies, translation and localization companies, and others.
The demographics of working on holidays
As a general rule, the younger an employee is, the more likely he / she is to accept holiday work. And the reasons are fairly obvious to anyone who has worked in shifts. If those working hours don’t bother you, then you probably don’t have a husband or a wife, or kids for that matter. And neither do your friends. It doesn’t really matter whether it is a Tuesday or a Saturday – you always have people to hang out with. But young people are not the only ones willing to work next Liberation Day. New and less-experienced employees can also be a bit more prone to work on holidays. They are usually eager to prove themselves as flexible workers and establish their place in the company. And the perks of working on holidays are enough for both groups to not mind sacrificing their personal comfort.
However, at some point in your carreer or personal life your views on holiday work begin to change. You start valuing your time enough that you no longer care for extra vacation days or higher pay. Giving up a holiday becomes a big deal and you are less and less willing to compromise. And it’s especially frustrating if you don’t see the point. When this happens, you have two options – change your profession or change your employer. Usually the latter is easier and preferred.
Pros and cons
As we’ve already established, there are many pros and cons for working on holidays. They all depend on factors like age, social, marital and parental status, company position or carreer choices. As there are three sides to holiday work, we will take a look at each of them individually:
For the employees
A standard practice in many countries is to compensate holiday work with higher pay. For example, in Bulgaria it’s the law to pay 200% of the hourly rate for holiday work, which can be a good incentive. Another option many companies offer is the option to work from home. While you will still be working, at least doing it from home can make the experience feel less unfair. And even better, some companies give their employees 1 additional vacation days for each holiday they work on.
There’s of course the other side of working on holidays. You’ll be missing out on social events with friends or family, which can make work feel more exhausting than normal. Also, being repeatedly asked (or forced) to work on holidays can make you lose trust in your employer. And after a while you just leave with a bitter taste in your mouth.
For the business owners
Business owners choose to provide holiday coverage for several reasons. The most common one is it’s a good source of increased revenue – e.g. if you’re in the right sector or if an important client requests it and pays well. If your company is open on holidays, this might attract new clients or projects, and can ultimately help you grow your business.
There are surely several cons of providing holiday coverage to consider. Increased costs due to holiday compensation is a sure one in most countries. Also, due to the negative effects on your employees, such companies suffer from fluidity of manpower which leads to higher training costs.
For the consumers
The third party in this pros and cons list are the consumers. What they get from businesses open on holidays is better quality of life and a sense of stability and security. Of course, the downside is that sometimes the ones who work on holidays are members of your family or friends who can miss out on holiday celebrations.
Localization and working on holidays
In the localization and translation sector there’s no immediate need for holiday coverage. Yes, sometimes there are projects with strict timeframes and they could require it. However, it’s almost always possible to find another solution – most of the times a day or two don’t make much of a difference. But if it indeed comes to that sudden and urgent large project, you can try hiring more translators or delivering in stages based on importance. Plus, every localization provider emphasizes on the quality of their services. And that quality comes much easier with well-rested and productive localization teams.
For us at TransGlobe International, the downsides of working on holidays outweigh the benefits. We know that after the hard work we do each day, we all deserve to rest and be with our families and friends on holidays. As do our clients and partners. Without the stress of having to work on holidays, our teams can use the time to rest and come back to work well-rested and motivated. This is another way to ensure the high quality of our services.
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