A working holiday

Our approach to work/life balance leaves a lot to be desired – apparently 10% of us are likely to spend Christmas Day working this year...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

As the last week before Christmas winds its weary way towards a close, most of us will have one eye on the imminent holiday period – a chance to see the family, watch rubbish TV, and stuff ourselves with turkey curry and mince pies.

Most – but not all. According to a new survey work/ life balance by Clydesdale Bank, one in ten of us will miss out on Christmas Day at home – because we’ll be at work instead. That means about half a million people in the UK will be in the office fiddling with spreadsheets when they should be in front of the fire watching the Queen’s speech. Workers in the East Midlands were the worst offenders, with one in four admitting to spending Christmas Day at work.

Is this an indication that Christmas is no longer as revered as it once was, due to the increasingly multicultural nature of today’s Britain? Or is it that people have such fun jobs in Nottingham and Leicester that the prospect of a slap-up feed and a repeat of the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special just doesn’t cut it?

Clydesdale Bank’s Mike Williams has a different explanation: we’re all just sad workaholics. Because it’s not just Christmas when we’re struggling to leave the office behind: more than 20% of respondents said they’d missed their kid’s birthday in the last year, rising to a third in some areas of the country.

‘Brits just don’t know when to say stop when it comes to work – our tag as the workaholics of Europe seems well-founded,’ he said. ‘The traditional 9 to 5 working life no longer seems to apply and these results show that many business people struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work, family and social life’.

We couldn’t agree more. So this year, turn off that laptop and fall asleep in front of the TV instead.

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