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Few made merry by holiday work; Survey suggests keeping to routine

Although the holidays are supposed to be jolly, a recent study found that when it comes to work there is little to be jolly about.

Thirty-nine percent of workers said it is more challenging to manage their workloads during the holiday season than at any other time of the year.

Reasons for this vary from more personal obligations to the end-of-the-year crunch.

Robert Half International regional vice president Jeanie Sharp said some of the professional things that could contribute: tax season approaching, meeting year- and month-end quotas, fiscal year end and, in the retail industry, the holiday shopping season.

The study also revealed that 41 percent of employees said their workload was already too much.

One thing Sharp said employees need to do to reduce stress is prioritize.

Put off tasks that do not need to be done by the end of the year.

She added that employees should try to plan ahead for those things that are scheduled to come at the end of the year such as the end of the quarter and fiscal year.

Stick to the routine, said Deana Barcz, owner of Barcz Coaching in Wyomissing, Pa. It is one of the simple things employees can do to reduce stress.

"During stressful times in the workplace, people often skip their breaks and their lunches or eat at their desk," Barcz said. "It is important to maintain routines and structure, especially during the holidays. Without breaks, productivity and creativity dwindles, stress actually increases, and recovery time takes longer."

Employers also can recognize that this is a tough time of year for their employees and offer some encouragement.

Sharp suggests a handwritten note can be simple and effective.

Experts agree that a small thing employers can do for their employees is to offer flexible hours.

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