July 1, 2006 in Business

Monday WILL be a workday, sort of

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

NEW YORK — With the July Fourth holiday falling on Tuesday this year, Monday will be an orphan workday for many people who can’t take the day off.

Although other national holidays are usually moved to the nearest Monday, Independence Day is always observed on July 4. And while some companies are giving their employees an extra day off Monday, many other people who do have to work might not be as productive as usual.

Some may be a little out of sorts, knowing they’re stuck on the job while friends or relatives are at backyard barbecues. But workplace experts say that it might not entirely be their fault that they’re less productive — a lot of tasks require collaboration and many co-workers, customers and other business associates won’t be there.

“It is a very challenging day to even consider a workday,” said Joseph Pitino, a New York-based director at the national recruiting firm Spherion. “Scheduling interviews on that day and getting any traction is less than likely. We are assuming it is a half a week.”

Wall Street won’t even be trying to put in a full day’s work. The nation’s stock markets will close at 1 p.m. Eastern time, three hours early.

No one is projecting that Monday’s lowered productivity will have an impact on the national economy. And one labor researcher says employers shouldn’t worry that workers might decide to make it a habit of having lazy Mondays.

“By and far, the American work ethic and the productivity consciousness still leads the world, so the fact that we have a day that may not be as productive as every other Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, I think that that’s not so daunting,” Paul Sanchez, the director of organizational research at Mercer Human Resource Consulting, said. “It’s not a threat to the entire economy.”

A smart boss probably would’ve planned in advance and given as many workers as possible a day at the beach, according to Brendan Bannister, a business professor at Northeastern University. He said days like Monday are a chance for supervisors to give up a little productivity in return for a little good will. The day off means less burnout and can “engender feelings of loyalty and commitment,” he said.

Owen Balbert, a senior manager in information technology operations at St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in New York, said he gave three of his employees the day off but will be at his desk. A hospital system has to have support staff every day but he’s not expecting a lot of action.


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