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Brits choose work over Christmas with the kids


Christmas is only six days away, but apparently there are many in the UK who will be celebrating in the office. Over 500,000 businessmen and women (roughly 1 in 10) are likely to miss Christmas Day with their families this year due to work commitments, according to research released today.

Clydesdale Bank's new study into work/life balance questioned 500 businesses up and down the country about how they balance their work life with their home life.

When asked what important family events had been affected due to work commitments, 11 per cent of respondents admitted to having actually missed Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

Looking at the picture across the UK, those in the East Midlands are the worst offenders, with almost a quarter (23%) having missing Christmas Day, followed by the North West (22%) and Scotland (20%).  At the other end of the scale, business men and women in Yorkshire are far more likely to stick to the traditional festive family holidays with only three per cent having missed either Christmas Day or New Year's Eve.  Other regions where workers rarely miss the Christmas holidays include the South East (4%), and Wales (9%).

"If there was one day in the year that you'd expect most people to put work to one side, it would surely be Christmas Day, but these findings are testament to the fact that Brits just don't know when to say stop when it comes to work, said Mike Williams, Clydesdale Bank's business banking general manager.

"It is acknowledged that the UK has a culture of working longer hours than virtually all of its European counterparts, but nonetheless it's astounding that so many business people still appear to miss what is traditionally one of the most important family holidays of the year."

Today's research also shows that it's not just the festive holidays that we are missing out on.  More than one in five (22%) admit to having missed their own child's birthday in the last year.  Again the picture varies across the country with the West Midlands coming out at the top of the scale with almost one third (32%) saying that they had missed their child's birthday as a result of work.  Perhaps surprisingly, it's London that comes out best with just over one in ten (12%) of business men and women in the capital missing their child's birthday.

Williams concluded: "These findings would indicate that our tag as the workaholics of Europe seems well-founded.  The traditional 9 to 5 working life no longer seems to apply and these results show that many business people struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work, family and social life.  And although there are some who may wear this as a badge of honour, clearly when it gets to the stage of missing family holidays and children's birthday's we have to consider that we've simply gone a step too far."


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