Tis the season! 10 great things about working on Christmas
If you’ll be on the clock this Christmas, don’t let it crush your spirit. You'll be joining tens of thousands of other hospitality staffers around the world who are scheduled to work holiday hours. And, while you may not realize it now, there are actually plenty of reasons to be full of gratitude and positivity while working through the holidays.
1. Holiday decor makes spirits bright. For one, during this time of year hospitality employers typically go overboard in decorating their hotel lobbies and grounds festively, encouraging guests to enjoy the spirit of the season. The uplifting atmosphere rubs off on employers too! “One property that I worked at was next to a hospital, so these guests were not necessarily making a decision to be away from home and at a hotel for the Christmas period. So, it was even more important to help provide a spirit of the holiday season for them,” says Suzanne Markham-Bagnera, PhD, clinical assistant professor at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. A little holiday magic can go a long way for guests and employees alike.
2. You can give of yourself. For example, for those who may be of other religious faiths or who don’t celebrate Christmas, the opportunity to work on this holiday (and maybe even make a little extra money) could be welcome. “I’m Jewish and I loved the opportunity to work Christmas at the Waldorf Astoria to give my Christian colleagues the time to celebrate with their family,” says Michael Oshins, Ed.D., MPS, associate professor of the Practice at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration.
3. It’s an RX for loneliness. Some hospitality employees have family who don’t live close by, so working over the holiday and keeping busy with coworkers is actually preferable to being alone, reminds Oshins. In addition, working holidays can be fun even when it comes to dealing with guests, as "most people are in a good mood and customers are more generous.”
4. Staff incentives abound. To motivate workers throughout this period, overtime rates apply, as well as options to pick up additional shifts, which can include a financial bonus, holiday rated compensation, discounts available onsite such as restaurants, free or discounted room nights, and sometimes comp time is allocated where additional days off would be available in a non-peak time period.
5. Staff appreciation increases. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, employers can help to sweeten the mindset of employees even more, by scheduling volunteers to cover shifts, providing shorter work shifts and providing food when the kitchens are open.
6. You can hone hospitality skills. “The biggest challenge and opportunity is to shift one’s perspective by having an innkeeper’s mentality – opening your arms to take care of the stranger is at the core of most religions,” he says.
7. Higher-ups will take note. “Newer employees do have to pay their dues and work those days earlier in their career and they too will be senior in status later, thus getting those days off. There’s no better way to demonstrate your dedication and commitment to your team than going the extra mile at work this time of year.
8. The celebrations continue. “Be flexible with your family to extend or create new traditions as to how you can celebrate, so you aren’t excluded,” says Markham-Bagnera. The plus side to that? Celebrating on another day means fewer crowds, and travel is less hectic and expensive.
9. Purse strings loosen. Guests may be particularly generous throughout the giving season, and consequently, there kindness may be reflected in staff gratuities. Bring on the big tips!
10. It could be fun. You might as well grin and enjoy it! Instead of feeling unfortunate, appreciate the opportunity to brighten guests’ spirits, engage and bond with your team members, and add cheer to your work setting.