The season of Christmas is a time of heightened activity across Barbados. For many employees in the various sectors of the economy, the pressure is turned on, as they are required to up their level of productivity in order to meet the demands of commercial activity.
This included white collar employees who are also hard pressed to conclude outstanding business before year end. The artisans and other skills persons are on a roll, as they are busy completing amongst other things, construction, house painting, landscaping and the like. All of this combines to make the Christmas season the busiest time of the year. Not even season of the Crop-Over Festival could come close in challenging it.
There is another other side of the coin to the hustle and bustle of Christmas, which invariably impacts on levels of productivity in the workplace. It is a time that many workers take their annual vacation leave. This may have the net effect of slowing down business in some organizations, as key persons may be legitimately away from the workplace.
Coupled with this is the offering of the traditional shopping day to workers by some enterprises and organisations. It goes without saying that some employees take the liberty to extend their allotted one hour lunch break, as they are caught up in the momentum of Christmas shopping.
In sharing the joys of the season, there are those business places that will close their doors for a day to accommodate the annual staff luncheon, cruise or party. Added to the equation is the early closure of some business places, and whose doors thereafter remain closed until sometime after the season has ended.
All of this is interesting as it would appear that workers are experiencing the best of both worlds. It certainly is the time of year that some workers will be smiling, as they are afforded the opportunity to work overtime and benefit from the overtime pay they receive.
Those who were unemployed for protracted periods, may just be fortunate enough to get temporary employment. Employers may however opt to hire young school leavers or those who are still attending secondary school or enrolled at a tertiary institutions; and in so doing offer them less than the standard pay. Some employers will engage these youngsters under the guise that they are being hired under an apprenticeship programme.
Generally there is no outcry about this, as the regular staff members welcome the addition help. There is also the voiced position that there is nothing fundamentally wrong in affording school leavers or those still at school, the opportunity to experience the world of work.
The picture painted does represent some of the ups and down of Christmas. Whatever individual point of view readers may have on these, it is unlikely that there will be a noted difference of opinion on the contention that activity at most workplace during the Christmas period, can be extremely stressful.
It can certainly lead to frustration and disillusionment. These can have the net effect on putting a damper on the joy an individual can have at Christmas. Many employees will identify with the fact that after giving of their best and going beyond the call of duty, that they receive no bonus, a gift, or even a verbal Christmas greeting or card. The lack of any recognition can be most devastating.
Since a workplace is expected to be a place where people bond and where the comradeship should exists, it should be that the employer and every member of staff should ensure that each and every member of the enterprise, has a merry little Christmas. A small token and/or a gift exchange might be all that it takes.
In looking through the eyes of an employee, the jury may remain out on the ups and downs of Christmas. There are some things that people have no control over, but each individual can determine that nothing will stop him/her from having a Merry Christmas. Remember that once there is life there is hope.
From Regional Management Services Inc., here is wishing all readers of this weekly column, a Merry Christmas.
* Dennis De Peiza is a Labour Management Consultant with Regional Management Services Inc.
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