Employees set to spend an average of €974 on Christmas gifts

The Workhuman survey reports that 28% of employees admit their heavy workload will hinder them from taking the desired festive time off
Niamh Graham, Workhuman

20 December 2023

Workhuman has announced findings from its human workplace index, which found that 27% of employees expect they will be responding to work emails during Christmas. While work pressures are getting to employees, 58% of employees in Ireland say they are also stressed about the financial burden of buying Christmas gifts this year.

The survey of 1,000 full-time employees in Ireland was commissioned by Workhuman and conducted by Pollfish to gain insights into attitudes and expectations around the holidays, including how work cultures support employees during the season, as well as gifting and giving habits.

The research shows that many find it difficult to take a break over the holidays. Some 22% of employees say they will not be able to fully switch off from work through the Christmas holidays while 28% admitted that their large workload would prevent them from taking as much time off as they would like.




Per the research, employees expect to spend an average of €974 each on Christmas gifts this year. Fifty-four percent responded that they feel stressed out about buying holiday gifts.

Additionally, the majority of employees who receive end-of-year bonuses are using them to pay for Christmas presents. Twenty-seven percent of respondents who receive end-of-year bonuses say they are essential for affording Christmas presents, while a further 53% said they alleviate some of the financial burden. Despite this, 51% of respondents would prefer to receive smaller spot bonuses throughout the year rather than one larger lump sum at the end of the year.

Many employees expressed an interest in employee recognition as a means of supplementing their Christmas budgets. Furthermore, the survey shows that 66% of employees would like to use points from an employee recognition programme to buy gifts. Employees are using Workhuman’s recognition platform in this way, with smartwatches, air fryers and headphones among the top purchases for those based in Europe.

When it comes to gifting trends in the workplace, 44% of employees receive Christmas gifts from their colleagues and 27% do a ‘Secret Santa’ at work. Some 32% get presents from their employer and of these, 95% say they like them. Lastly, 12% admitted they re-gift them to someone else.

Niamh Graham, senior vice president of global human experience, Workhuman, said: “Our research has shown that while this is an exciting time of year, it can also be a stressful one. Financial, familial, and professional pressures can impact employees over the holiday season. When done right, company culture can help to alleviate some of this stress, rather than being a cause of it. Ensuring employees are using their paid time off and have a solid coverage plan so they can truly unplug over the holidays is a practice leadership should demonstrate and encourage.

“Employee experience initiatives can also help get at some of this stress; spot bonuses and redeemable recognition points can be particularly meaningful for employees, especially as this is also the Season of Giving and a great time to show gratitude for others in your organisation, building up a supportive company culture.”

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