Holiday Economics

Holiday Economics image

Text: Tito F. Hermoso / Photos: | posted December 28, 2010 01:17

Give us a break!

Holiday Economics have more benefits than just mere "rest". By bunching up the holidays close to the weekend, holiday economics spreads out the time and road space needed for citizens to transit to holiday destinations and family. Having been stuck in Friday or Monday traffic, we all know how inadequate our transport infrastructure is in accommodating a sudden rush to enter or exit the city. Witness the congestion caused by the recent MMDA decision to again exempt provincial buses from coding up to December 23 in order to service the populace leaving the city for the holidays. And to think we've enjoyed less congested traffic this year because the colorum buses were caught and the rest subjected to color coding.

Its not just for workers

The Holiday weekend is valuable not only to workers but students alike. Imagine, most of them cooped up in rabbit hutch urban accommodation, in order to save money, looking forward to the hope of getting out into the countryside and family come Friday.


Much as holidays are welcome fillip for harassed workers, many businesses find them a nuisance and blip in planning or running an efficient money making venture. Nevertheless, all recognize the value of holidays for both service and manufacturing industries as homo sapiens, unlike machines not only need a rest, but a recharge of the proverbial batteries, which have proven to boost productivity. Besides, even laborers who are paid a daily wage, if constantly nose to the grinding wheel 6 days a week, 8 hours a day, welcome a break. But what does this do to productivity?

Arguing productivity

Some will argue that high unemployment, just like many holidays, reduces the number of working hours, which makes for a smaller denominator in computing for labor productivity. While this is true, when comparing the USA - which has far less holidays and us - with the EU - which has far more holidays than us, it can be argue that the quality of holiday making, though dearer, is better in the EU or the places where the citizens of the EU go to during holiday season.

In local practice

Imagine if the holiday lands smack in any of the middle 3 days of a 5 day working week. There will be a dilemma for those who would still want to risk a day-trip. Congestion at bus terminals start building up just as the evening rush hour begins. Besides, its been proven that a Tuesday holiday after a Monday working day is detrimental to most people working up to a momentum for work the rest of the week.

Collection day

Also, since our urban economies are largely controlled by distribution and merchandising companies, all of which try to take advantage of the 3-day float that a weekend allows for funding checks, almost all dictate that Friday afternoon as suppliers' collection day. This leads thousands of motorcycle riding messengers to rush to get checks for late deposit at banks or to HQ. Hence the weekend traffic mess, compounded by the rush to get out of the city.

Rebels because...

Young web entrepreneurs, usually labelled as "rebellious" have decried offices as the worse places to get any work done. The endless interruptions of managers and meetings, they claim, is the problem. Work is like sleep; once interrupted getting back on track is difficult. Such interruptions, the independent savvy entrepreneurs say, are imposed by others and is out of synch for even the most ardent of nose-to-the grinding wheel laborer.

Command and control

But corporations are groups of people who need to be physically close to each other in order to shorten communication lines. You can't have a herd scattered all over the place. You need a corral for control and access.

The NBN-ZTE dream

Perhaps someday, we will live in a society where having an office and regular office time would be a thing of the past. We won't have to build so many office parks and residential suburbs, linked by ever more congested roads. The adage "build it, and they will come" surely applies to traffic. Offices will still be necessary as there has to be consistent point of contact for transacting people. Cloud computing, which may be the next step if we achieve blanket broad band coverage [NBN-ZTE, anyone?] would still reduce the need for people to be moving around to do work if they can do it in the comfort of their homes.

You're the boss

Perhaps, owing to the addiction to having a captive audience at meetings, many self-made entrepreneur's offices still function, at least, as a tangible prop to fragile egos. Then, in that case, the right frame of mind is to expect the interruptions imposed by others and never mind if not much work gets done. That's what Holidays are for, Mr. President. Let's not keep changing rules for change's sake. But you can't deny that in the comfort of lying in bed wearing pajamas, temptations to stray from the focus of getting work done is ever present. You're the boss and no one's watching. If others aren't wasting your time, you can easily find ways to waste yours.