RISMEDIA, July 3, 2007—(MCT)—Midweek July 4th poses a tough choice for workers looking to take extra time off.
Are you a Monday-Tuesday or a Thursday-Friday person?
That’s this year’s weighty dilemma workers face as the Fourth of July holiday falls smack dab in the middle of the week.
The symmetry of the calendar neatly divides savvy time-off maximizers into the two camps — well, except those who are taking the entire week off.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the Thursday-Friday camp to be the more popular choice.
It will be a quiet week at RSM McGladrey’s Bloomington national headquarters, where about 130 people work.
“People are taking an extra day off on Thursday and Friday, at least in our office,” said Doug Opheim, chief of U.S. operations.
But, of course, this isn’t exactly a hectic time for an accounting firm.
“Our busy season is January through April so people have a lot of time off in the summer.”
Opheim himself has a busy week planned — but it’s not at work.
He’s flying to New York on Wednesday with his wife and two daughters and their two friends to take in a Yankees-Twins game, two Broadway shows, the fireworks, and to eat in the restaurants of the Food Network rock stars. They’ll fly back on Sunday.
An informal poll on one floor at HealthPartners’ corporate offices found that half of the employees were taking off Thursday and Friday. About a quarter were taking off the entire week.
Liz Swanson, vice president of human resources, debated — which days worked best for her vacation? Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday.
Finally, she said, “I’ll make it easy on myself and take the whole week off.”
While most companies give workers a paid holiday on the Fourth, only a handful of companies are extending the holiday this year, according to the Employers Association, which provides human-resources and management consulting and training services. It also surveys companies on holiday plans.
It’s common for workers to tie holidays together with vacation to create an extended weekend or a total week of time off that allows for out-of-town travel, said George Gmach, who oversees the firm’s company surveys.
Those companies with specific customer-service or production demands may require a minimum staffing level during holiday weeks and may limit the number of allowed vacations during these popular times, he said.
True enough. At Lighthouse1, a software-development firm in Minnetonka, the techies will have their heads down as they work to meet a July 15 release deadline.
“They know the work still needs to get done even though it can be a traditional time for time off,” said Kristin Collignon, director of human resources.
The people taking off additional time next week are mainly part of the administrative and support staff, not those working on new features and enhancements for the company’s health care benefits software.
They just know they can’t afford the extra hours off of the project,” Collignon said.
The week of the Fourth is the most popular vacation time of the summer, Gmach said. During the first week of July, it’s tough to get business meetings on the calendar.
“It’s a difficult time for people to schedule meetings because there are so many people on vacation that week.”
Still, he’s managed to squeeze in a few.
Client visits are scheduled on Monday and Tuesday. After his day off on Wednesday, it’s back to a quiet office on Thursday.
“The fifth might be a catch-up day where there won’t be much activity from clients and not much going on around here. The sixth it’s back into meetings again.”
Copyright © 2007, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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