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Most Horrible Time of the Year? Why Holidays Get Workers Down

Most Horrible Time of the Year? Why Holidays Get Workers Down
Credit: Nelosa/Shutterstock

While the holiday season can be a joyous time, many workers find it to be one of the most unbearable times of the year, new research finds.

From getting gifts for co-workers and attending work holiday parties, to feeling the pressure to get year-end assignments done and bringing in food for holiday luncheons, employees dislike the holiday season for a variety of reasons, found a study from licensed psychologist and consultant Paul White.

Holiday gift-giving is what really aggravates employees, the study showed. The research revealed that getting gifts for co-workers and bosses is the most hated holiday workplace practice for 70 percent of employees. This includes 23 percent of workers who detest "white elephant" gift exchanges, 21 percent who loathe "secret Santa" exchanges, and 22 percent who don't like that they're expected to buy gifts for co-workers and bosses at all.

"Holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but when bosses combine 'forced fun' with expectations that impact employees' finances and eat into their personal time, it's a toxic combination that often results in negative attitudes, the opposite of what was intended," White, co-author of "Rising Above a Toxic Workplace" (Northfield Publishing, 2014), said in a statement.

Gift giving isn't the only celebration aspect of the holidays that employees detest. The study discovered that 20 percent of workers don't enjoy having to attend after-hours holiday parties, with 18 percent saying they don't like having to bring in food for holiday luncheons. [5 Unique Businesses That Make Gift Giving Easier ]

Parties and gift exchanges aren't the only aspects of the holiday season employees despise. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed said the added workload that comes with having to get all of the year-end tasks complete is what they hate most about this time of year.

White said employers have several ways to prevent their employees from adopting a "hate the holidays" attitude.

 "Leave ample time for employees to work on the extra year-end tasks and reports. Don't force workers to participate in gift-giving exchanges, explicitly or implicitly, and be sensitive to scheduling issues and time requirements during the holidays," White said.

The study was based on surveys of 1,200 U.S. workers.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.