Happier During the Holidays?

More Than One-Third of Canadian Workers Surveyed Jollier on the Job During the Holiday Season; Similar Numbers Are Also More Stressed

  • Balancing year-end festivities and work obligations biggest stressor for workers
  • More flexible work schedules, higher year-end bonuses top professionals’ wish lists

Toronto, ON — ‘Tis the season to be jolly – off and on the clock. In a recent survey of Canadian professionals from staffing firm Accountemps, more than a third (36 per cent) said they are more cheerful at work during the holidays. But many are also busier, with 30 per cent of respondents saying they are more stressed on the job this time of year.

What makes workers weary during the most wonderful time of the year? Professionals polled cited balancing holiday events and work obligations (33 per cent), having fewer people on the job to help (20 per cent), and trying to take time off and coming back to heavy workloads (17 per cent) as the most stressful aspects of the holiday season.

As for the gift that would bring the most cheer, professionals cited allowing more flexible work schedules (30 per cent), higher year-end bonuses (27 per cent) and additional paid vacation time (23 per cent).

View an infographic with the survey findings.

Workers were asked, “Which single aspect of the holiday season is most stressful for you on the job?” Their responses*:

Balancing holiday events and work obligations


Having fewer people available to help with workload


Trying to take time off and coming back to heavy workloads


Attending office holiday events


Buying gifts for coworkers/business contacts






*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding.


Workers were also asked, “What would you most like your company to do to help alleviate stress during the year-end holiday season?” Their responses:


Allow more flexible work schedules


Give higher year-end bonuses


Provide more paid vacation time


Bring in temporary staff to help with workload






“Preparing for the holidays and juggling year-end responsibilities at work can make this a busy and stressful time for employees,” said Dianne Hunnam-Jones, Canadian president of Accountemps. “To ensure business continues to run smoothly, employers should consult their teams to see how they can alleviate pressure, and consider providing additional resources to cover for vacations, or allow for flexible work schedules."

As the holidays approach, Accountemps offers the following tips to prevent on-the-job fatigue:

  • Make a list and check it twice. Before leaving work, write down top priorities to accomplish the next day. Keep a separate list for personal to-do’s. This will help you manage priorities, improve productivity and reduce stress during the holidays.
  • Look for helpers. If you’re buried with too many projects, speak up. Meet with your manager to discuss possible solutions to alleviate the pressure you’re feeling, such as adjusting deadlines or delegating.
  • Give yourself the gift of time. Plan for time out of the office, and help your boss prepare for your absence so all important projects are covered. Think about ways you can minimize your stress level, such as leaving a little early to get holiday shopping done.
  • Eat, exercise and be merry. It’s impossible to enjoy the holiday season if you don’t prioritize your physical and mental health. Take regular breaks during the day to refuel, rest or stretch.

About the Survey

An independent research firm surveyed more than 550 workers from Canada to determine employee happiness during the holiday season, as well as the impact of holiday stress.

About Accountemps
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has 325 offices worldwide. More resources, including job search services and the company’s blog, can be found at roberthalf.ca/en/work-with-us/our-services/accountemps. Follow us at @RobertHalf_CAN for additional workplace news and hiring trends.