'TIS THE SEASON TO BE FOCUSED

Accountemps Survey: One-Third of Managers Agree Employee Productivity Spikes Around Holidays

TORONTO, Nov. 18 /CNW/ - Despite the distractions of decking the halls and planning for parties, Canadian managers believe that workers actually increase their focus and attentiveness prior to the holidays. One-third (32 per cent) of senior managers surveyed recently by Accountemps said their employees are generally more productive the week before a major holiday event, compared to just 24 percent who said staff are less productive.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 300 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.

Managers were asked, "In your opinion, are employees more or less productive the week before a major holiday?" Their responses:

Much more productive..........   7%
                     Somewhat more productive......  25%
                     No difference.................  44%
                     Somewhat less productive......  22%
                     Much less productive..........   2%
                                                   ------
                                                    100%

"Although the results may seem surprising at first, it is evident that the need to stay focused and get as much work done as possible before the break is a priority amongst many employees," said Kathryn Bolt, Canadian district president of Accountemps. "To enjoy the season's company parties, family festivities and other activities, it becomes greatly beneficial to put in that added effort during the work hours leading up to the break."

Although productivity may increase as the holidays draw closer, many employees still struggle with balancing work and personal demands. Accountemps offers these five tips to help workers juggle multiple priorities during this season:

1.  Make a list, and check it twice.
        Examine deadlines for upcoming major projects and adjust them as
        needed due to holiday schedules. Check in with coworkers on their
        plans to avoid unexpected delays or setbacks due to employee
        absences.

    2.  Tie up loose ends with a bow.
        Don't leave people hanging while you're away. Before leaving early to
        attend a seasonal function or departing for holiday vacation, update
        your voicemail and e-mail auto responses, and show coworkers how to
        find critical information.

    3.  Exchange the gift of time.
        Delegate time-sensitive tasks and responsibilities to colleagues and
        offer to return the favour when they're out.

    4.  Make merry selectively.
        Prioritize the events that are most important to you, and don't feel
        pressured to attend every holiday function. Likewise, even if you
        aren't traveling for the holidays, consider taking time off to shop,
        plan meals or attend to other holiday tasks.

    5.  Remember, Santa's not the only one with helpers.
        If your department is spread thin, consider interim staff to help
        with year-end projects. If you are taking time off, prepare
        transition materials to help temporary professionals get up to speed
        quickly.

Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com. Follow Accountemps for workplace news at twitter.com/accountemps. For Accountemps' take on year-end, watch our new video on relieving work overload: www.accountemps.com/holiday.

For further information: ACCOUNTEMPS, 181 Bay St., Suite 820, Toronto, ON, M5J 2T3, Contact: Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, nadia.santoli@rhi.com