Holiday shopping is already underway, but next week the real holiday season begins. Starting with Thanksgiving, employees across the United States and around the world will be taking four-day weekends and extended vacations to celebrate the holidays...sort of. Many will not physically go to the office, but will continue working through the holidays nonetheless.
Perhaps it's a sign of the economic times. There is no rest for the weary, and those fortunate enough to still have jobs have the burden of carrying the load for all those who were let go, as well as the pressure to exceed expectations to ensure they aren't next to get the axe. Can't let a little thing like quality time with the family over the holidays get in the way of quotas and deadlines.
Or, maybe it's just an indication that society as a whole is busier and more connected. The holidays have lost some of the traditional reverence. Thanksgiving is more about NFL football games than honoring the Mayflower pilgrims' feast. Christmas is predominantly a commercial enterprise focused on spending gross amounts of money. The holidays mean getting together with relatives you rarely see and barely tolerate--making "crucial" work deadlines a convenient excuse to escape.
It's probably a little of both, and somewhere in the middle. Regardless of the reasons behind it, a study conducted by Egnyte--a cloud storage provider--finds that a solid majority will work this holiday season. According to the study, 82 percent of small business professionals surveyed plan to work during the holidays.
While only 73 percent plan to work on Thanksgiving, a shocking 87 percent indicated intent to work through the December holidays--whether Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza. Only 55 percent plan to work on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. The clicking of the keyboard can be deafening after a night of champagne toasts and shots of Patron.
Where Egnyte enters this equation is the part where only 24 percent plan to actually go in to the office, while the rest plan to work remotely from a home office, a relative's home, or while traveling on the road. That means accessing data remotely.
"The beauty of cloud technology is that it can dramatically increase productivity," said Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte. "During the holiday season, professionals will be juggling work and personal priorities, and thus will need tools to help them make the most of their time. The Egnyte Everywhere mobile suite, with the addition of our new Android application, makes it easy for anyone to quickly access and work on files from any location, leaving more time for family and friends."
As an interesting aside, the Egnyte survey also found that 76 percent of respondents will work remotely via laptop, while 18 percent will use a tablet. The tablet share may not be overwhelming, but it is significant for a category of mobile device that didn't exist at this time a year ago.
Seven in ten respondents put the Apple iPad at the top of their holiday wish list, with the remaining 30 percent hoping for an Android tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Looking ahead to 2011, the majority predict that the iPhone and iPad will dominate their respective markets in the coming year.
Let me know in the comments what your holiday plans are. Do you plan to work remotely while on "vacation"? If so, are you working by choice or out of necessity?