The holiday spending season is in full swing, making the average workday chock-full of potential distractions.

But is holiday shopping the biggest culprit for disrupting a professional’s focus? A new Robert Half survey may surprise you.

The results revealed 76 percent blame being tired or worker burnout as the number one reason why they are distracted on the job, said Dora Onyschak, regional director at Robert Half.

She added that 17 percent of respondents blame holiday shopping and only 7% say holiday work parties keep them from getting stuff done at the office.

Burnout can be a real threat to an employee’s well-being and could have serious implications for meeting business objectives, Onyschak said.

Throughout the year, employees and employers must be conscious of the time off that’s being taken.

“Meaning people need to use their time. They need to take breaks throughout the year so that the year-end burnout is not so bad,” she said.

Burnout can lead to decreased morale, decreased productivity, and it can increase turnover which no one in the business wants because it can be extremely costly and the company could lose good workers, Onyschak said.

Employees need to be able to balance their work deadlines and their holiday preparations. Onyschak has one piece of advice for employers when it comes to their workers doing some online shopping while on the job.

“If your employees are taking a few minutes to do some online shopping during the day, don’t stress about it. As long as they are getting their work done, letting them have that time increases their engagement, it helps them balance life and work, but it also shows that you trust them to get their work done in a timely manner when they need to, while still addressing those personal needs,” Onyschak said.

The key is to be flexible and productive at the same time.

Where people are working, and when they are working have changed dramatically over the past couple of years, she said. Knowing employees are trusted by their bosses that they will get their work done, not necessarily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., is super critical to allow them to balance their needs, she added.

Holiday parties, whether they are in-person, virtual, or a mix of both can also be a great way to encourage team-building and boost morale, she said. The team bonding and recognition of their hard work are super critical and outweigh any distraction a worker may be experiencing.

Onyscak said the bottom line is that the holidays are a busy time and distractions are inevitable at work. “So, working together to meet year-end business goals as well as helping your staff meet their personal responsibilities and goals, are supercritical,” she said.

Open dialogue and open communication are a must on a daily basis.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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