Hospitality staff clock up 28 hours overtime at Christmas

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Thinkstock/shironosov
Photo: Thinkstock/shironosov

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Hospitality staff will work an average of 28 hours overtime this Christmas according to the results of a survey into festive work habits. 

In the equivalent time behind the bar or in the kitchen, a member of staff could pour 840 pints of Guinness or cook 168 steaks, says drinks distributor Matthew Clark, who commissioned the survey. 

The fact that staff will be expected to cover extra hours will be no surprise. The industry was warned last month that the ongoing chef shortage​ was set to worsen this Christmas as recruiters would not have enough temporary staff available to meet demand. 

However, putting in extra hours means those working in the hospitality sector are likely to miss out on a range of activities to improve their well-being and social lives with the top five listed including dating, pampering themselves, watching TV, exercising and learning. 

And the extra overtime is expected to impact on sleep with the majority of the 1,000 hospitality workers questioned expecting to run on five to six hours of sleep a night, two hours less than the recommended seven to eight hours a night. 


With work impacting on home life, Matthew Clark's marketing director Geoff Brown said employers needed to bring in time-saving initiatives where they could. The company has perfected its online ordering service, allowing orders to be made quickly from multiple devices 24/7. 

"Christmas is a very busy time of the year for the hospitality industry and striking a work life balance is a huge challenge," he said. "The festive period is prime time for business and to make the most of friends and family, so we want to help our customers take back some to time to spend with loved ones – or just catching up on sleep. Encouraging our customers to place their orders online is just one of the ways we’re helping them save time this Christmas.”

Pros and cons

A separate survey of 1,600 people by CV-Library about the pros and cons of working over Christmas found that the worse part was missing out on time with family (90 per cent) while the best reasons for working during the festive period were the fact they received Christmas bonuses (36.8 per cent) and the atmosphere was more relaxed (36 per cent). 

CV-Library managing director Lee Biggins said: “While having to work over Christmas can be frustrating; there clearly are some festive benefits for hospitality workers, including Christmas music, secret Santa and a festive dress code. It’s obvious though that there are some downsides to working during the holidays, which is inevitable given that it is traditionally a time of year to switch off, take a break from work and spend time with family.”

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