Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Thirty-eight per cent of employees have been less productive than normal in the lead-up to the holiday break, 35% say they have been just as productive and 27% have been more productive, according to fresh workplace research.

For those taking it easier, on average 14% of their paid work time has been unproductive, through activities such as socialising around the workplace, office parties/morning or afternoon teas, end of year socialising with suppliers/clients and leaving work early.

Eighty-eight per cent said that working this level of hours in the lead-up to the holidays was normal for their organisations while 83 per cent said it was normal for their industry.

The research was conducted as part of Leadership Management Australasia's (LMA) ongoing major workplace study, the Leadership Employment and Development (L.E.A.D.) Survey conducted by Chase Research over the last four days involving over 700 respondents in Australia and New Zealand across 17 industry sectors.

The majority of respondents were from junior to senior management positions -- Executive/Managerial (27%) and Middle Managerial/Supervisory (51%), and the balance from other employees (22%).

Managing Director of LMA Grant Sexton said: "No-one would begrudge the average worker the chance to take the foot off the organisational pedal in the lead-up to Christmas. However, it's clear that by doing so there's the potential of substantially reducing the productivity of many organisations, often at a time when they can least afford anything but a 100% effort from their people.”

There is a strong relationship between feelings about personal productivity and hours worked. Those who feel less productive in the lead-up to Christmas are in fact working on average 2-3 hours less than normal, while those who feel more productive are in fact working on average 3-4 hours more than normal.

However, those feeling less productive are actually being paid for a higher percentage of the hours they are working (85% versus 83% normally), and those feeling more productive are being paid for a lower percentage of their work hours (80% versus 83% normally).

Added to this, those who feel less productive claim to be spending around 19% of their hours worked in unproductive activities, which is more than double the percentage of those feeling more productive at this time of year (8%).

Mr Sexton said that clearly there is a triple impact on productivity at play here - workers who feel less productive are working fewer hours, being paid for a higher percentage of those hours and working a much higher percentage of unproductive hours.

“For bottom line performance, there is quite a serious side to the silly season,” Mr Sexton said.

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For comment, please contact Grant Sexton 0411 814 986

Image of Grant Sexton may be downloaded at

About L.E.A.D.
Running for 10 years, the L.E.A.D. Survey is Australasia’s most authoritative survey of workplace issues and their effect on management and employees. It is now an on-line rolling survey with information released in waves three times each year, constantly updating what is really happening within Australasian organisations.

The L.E.A.D. Survey is managed by Adrian Goldsmith of Chase Research. It is commissioned by LMA. Mr Goldsmith designed and conducted previous L.E.A.D. Surveys when a director of Quantum Market Research. Participants are from all sectors, locations and organisation sizes and include employees, frontline managers and supervisors, business leaders and senior management. It draws on previous surveys to analyse changes in the workplace, providing the latest insights, trends and emerging issues affecting business and people management.

About Grant Sexton, Managing Director of LMA
Grant Sexton is an expert commentator on workplace issues, having delivered over 1000 presentations on the subject in Australia and overseas.

Contact Profile

Leadership Management Australasia (LMA)

LMA was established 35 years ago. It is Australasia’s leading training and people development organisation, operating with a team of 160 people across Australia and New Zealand who work with more than 1600 clients to improve their productivity, performance and leadership. LMA has worked with over 110,000 people in small and medium organisations, large corporations and government departments.
Graeme Willingham, DWPR
P: 0414 499 887


Christmas jobs, seasonal productivity, productivity losses, leadership, personal productivity



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