December 13, 2019
BERLIN — When the American President holds out a benevolent hand to officially pardon the turkey, we know Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This important American holiday — and the Black Friday shopping frenzy that comes with it — also act as a starting gun for Christmas preparations worldwide, as mince pies and gingerbread men line arrive in supermarket aisles and Christmas travel plans are finalized.
The billions worth of presents bought on Black Friday are hastily hidden from family members, and the work canteen serves up traditional Christmas food — goose and dumplings in Germany, with a cute little complimentary chocolate Santa added to your tray on Fridays. So, we ask, who feels like working at this time of year? Almost no one.
By Dec. 1, 7% of German employees — about 3 million people — have already mentally checked out of their jobs, according to a new survey. As Christmas draws closer, more and more people start to switch off. By Dec. 10, with two weeks still to go before the big day, the figure is 23%, and from Dec. 20, the Friday before Christmas this year, employee motivation will have plummeted. By that point, 31 million employees, 69% of the German work force, will have completely switched off while at work.
The younger the employees are, the earlier they switch off.
These results of the study, where 12,000 employees — hailing from Germany, the UK and U.S. — were asked about their motivation and productivity in the build-up to Christmas. The survey, commissioned by Danish company Peakon, was carried out by Google Consumer Surveys. The question was: "From what date in December do you stop concentrating fully on your job and start thinking about Christmas?"
Another key finding: the younger the employees are, the earlier they switch off.
This is especially true of Generation Z, the employees born after 1995 who entered the world of work with particularly high expectations. "Generation Z won't work overtime, not even when they're still on probation. Even on their first day at a new job, these employees leave on the dot at 5 p.m. Managers simply have to deal with it," said author and Generation Z expert Rüdiger Maas in a recent interview with Die Welt.
And a merry Christmas to all — Photo: Drew Beamer
This attitude is especially prominent in the lead-up to Christmas. Half (51%) of all younger employees (between 18 and 24) admit that they've lost all motivation at work from December 19th, and onwards. In contrast, 60% of employees over 55 are still giving it their all in the office at that stage.
German companies at least can take heart that employees in Germany start to switch off significantly later than the American and British workforce. In the US, 50% of employees are already thinking about their holidays by December 17, two days before their German counterparts. In the UK, half of the employees mentally check out by December 18.
There's not a lot that companies can do.
Peakon, the Copenhagen-based company, is specialized in employee motivation worldwide, including at companies such as BMW and EasyJet. "The figures show that employee motivation dips during the Christmas period, probably because other activities, such as spending time with family, start to take priority," says Julian Tesche, head of market development at Peakon in Germany. "During this time, managers shouldn't expect the same level of performance from their employees as they do at the beginning of the quarter."
Unfortunately, there's not a lot that companies can do to combat low motivation at this time. Instead of bemoaning the lack of productivity, Tesche recommends that they emphasize the positive during the pre-Christmas period. "For example, it can be helpful to have team meetings where you reflect on the year together. That can allow people to thrash out new ways of working together more effectively in the coming year." Managers should use the time to thank employees for their contributions — "for example, giving them a handwritten card or having a one-to-one meeting before the end of the year," Tesche recommends.
Companies should also offer their employees more flexible working hours, to help keep motivation up. If you can't allow them to go home early, you can at least give them longer or more frequent breaks, says Tesche. "That way they have more time to buy Christmas presents." Because that's what probably what they're already doing anyway.
Die Welt ("The World") is a German daily founded in Hamburg in 1946, and currently owned by the Axel Springer AG company, Europe's largest publishing house. Now based in Berlin, Die Welt is sold in more than 130 countries. A Sunday edition called Welt am Sonntag has been published since 1948.
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Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
October 28, 2021
Welcome to Thursday, where America's top general reacts to China's test of a hypersonic weapon system, Russia is forced to reimpose lockdown measures and Venice's historic gondola race is hit by a doping scandal. French daily Les Echos also offers a cautionary tale of fraud in the crypto economy.
[*Vaṇakkam, Tamil - India, Sri Lanka, Singapore]
• Top U.S. general says Chinese weapon nearly a "Sputnik moment": China recently conducted a "very concerning" test of a hypersonic weapon system as part of its push to expand space and military technologies, Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Bloomberg News. America's top military officer said that this was akin to the Soviet Union's stunning launch of the world's first satellite, Sputnik, 1957, which sparked the Cold War space race. Milley also called the test of the weapon "a very significant technological event" that is just one element of China's military capabilities.
• Brexit: France seizes British trawler: A British trawler has been seized by France while fishing in French waters without a license, amid escalating conflict over post-Brexit fishing rights. France's Minister for Europe said it will adopt a zero-tolerance attitude towards Britain and block access to virtually all of its boats until it awards licenses to French fishermen.
• COVID update: Russia confirmed a new record of coronavirus deaths, forcing officials to reimpose some lockdown measures, including a nationwide workplace shutdown in the first week of November. Germany also saw its numbers spike, with more than 28,000 new infections yesterday, adding to worries about restrictions this winter there and elsewhere in Europe. Singapore, meanwhile, reported the biggest surge in the city-state since the coronavirus pandemic began. Positive news on the vaccine front, as U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck granted royalty-free license for a COVID-19 antiviral pill to help protect people in the developing world.
• Iran nuclear talks to resume: Iran's top nuclear negotiator said multilateral talks in Vienna with world powers about its nuclear development program will resume before the end of November. The announcement comes after the U.S. warned efforts to revive the deal were in "critical phase."
• First U.S. passport with "X" gender marker: The U.S. State Department has issued its first American passport with an "X" gender marker. It is designed to give nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming people a marker other than male or female on their travel document. Several other countries, including Canada, Argentina and Nepal, already offer the same option.
• China limits construction of super skyscrapers: China has restricted smaller cities in the country from building extremely tall skyscrapers, as part of a larger bid to crack down on wasteful vanity projects by local governments. Earlier this year the country issued a ban on "ugly architecture."• Doping scandal hits Venice's gondola race: For the first time in the history of the Venice Historical Regatta, a participant has tested positive to marijuana in a doping test: Gondolier Renato Busetto, who finished the race in second place, will be suspended for 13 months.
"End of the ice age," titles German-language Luxembourgish daily Luxemburger Wort, writing about how the ice melting in the Arctic opens up new economic opportunities with a new passage for countries like Russia and China but with potentially devastating effects for the environment. The issue of the Arctic is one of the topics that will be discussed at the COP26 Climate Change Conference which kicks off in Glasgow on Sunday.
A new United Nations report found that extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, floods and droughts have caused India an average annual loss of about $87 billion in 2020. India is among the countries which suffered the most from weather hazards this year along with China and Japan.
Air Next: How a crypto scam collapsed on a single spelling mistake
It is today a proven fraud, nailed by the French stock market watchdog: Air Next resorted to a full range of dubious practices to raise money for a blockchain-powered e-commerce app. But the simplest of errors exposed the scam and limited the damage to investors. A cautionary tale for the crypto economy from Laurence Boisseau in Paris-based daily Les Echos.
📲 The story began last February, when Air Next registered with the Paris Commercial Court. The new company stated it was developing an application that would allow the purchase of airline tickets by using cryptocurrency, at unbeatable prices and with an automatic guarantee in case of cancellation or delay, via a "smart contract" system. Last summer, Air Next started recruiting. The company also wanted to raise money to have the assets on hand to allow passenger compensation.
📝 On Sept. 30, the AMF issued an alert, by way of a press release, on the risks of fraud associated with the ICO, as it suspected some documents to be forgeries. For employees of the new company, it was a brutal wake-up call. They quickly understood that they had been duped, that they'd bet on the proverbial house of cards. Challenged by one of his employees on Telegram, the CEO admitted that "many documents provided were false", that "an error cost the life of this project."
⚠️ What was the "error" he was referring to? A typo in the name of the would-be bank backing the startup. A very small one, at the bottom of the page of the false bank certificate, where the name "Edmond de Rothschild" is misspelled "Edemond". Before the AMF's public alert, websites specializing in crypto-assets had already noted certain inconsistencies. The company had declared a share capital of 1 billion euros, which is an enormous amount. Air Next's CEO also boasted about having discovered bitcoin at a time when only a few geeks knew about cryptocurrency.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"A weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is functional, and fired a live round."
— Following the Oct. 21 on-set shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Sante Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza told a press conference that the "facts are clear" about the final moments before Hutchins was shot. The investigation continues to determine what led up to that moment, and any possible criminal responsibility related to how the "prop" gun that actor Alec Baldwin fired was loaded.
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger
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