It’s Secret Santa Season! Spare a thought for the lone workers...
Offices around the country are gearing up for their Christmas frivolities, and it's Secret Santa season! But what happens when you don't work with colleagues? You miss out, that's what.
We've spoken with lone workers across the globe to hear their thoughts on this festive tradition.
Harry Martin is a wildlife and nature photography guide on the Isle of Skye:
“I’m often in remote parts of the hills, mountains and coastline on Skye as well as across Scotland. I tend to work as far away from other people as possible! When on wildlife photography assignments, I'll speak to no-one at all for days.
“As a self-employed photographer I tend to work very long days. The amount of contact I have with others can vary substantially, but is usually limited to customers of mine that I see rather than colleagues, friends or family. I live a long way from the rest of my family, and friends, so it can be pretty isolating, despite living in such a beautiful place.
“I think lone workers miss out on many of the traditions, or group activities associated with Christmas, whether it’s a Christmas meal, or simply a bit of festive feeling in an office. Receiving a Secret Santa gift would definitely get me into the Christmas spirit a little more than usual!”
Gail is a vintage car upholsterer from Worthing.
“I spend most of my time working on replacement hoods and seats for pre war cars. I occasionally work on customer’s cars remotely if it’s possible to do the job or if they’re not mobile yet. I spent two days in a freezing cold lock-up recolouring a whole car interior in the middle of nowhere with no internet or phone signal.... Was easier to drive 30 mins home and back to use a toilet!
“I sometimes go for days with no visiting customers, then some might all come at same time. On average I probably don’t speak to anyone at work for three out of five days. If I work Saturdays then I don't see anyone at all.
“I previously worked in a big office for 20 years, so Christmas was very much celebrated. I miss the decorations and the arguments about when they should be put up! We did Secret Santa every year without fail so I do miss that.
‘I do think lone workers miss out. I’ve not done anything for Christmas work wise for nine years now and it’s pretty boring!”
Camilla Gobourn works remotely in Bali
“Spending Christmas in a hot climate is daunting and a strange concept having grown up in chilly, yet very Christmassy Scotland! I live and work on my own, and as much as I love the flexibility and freedom remote working gives me, I miss the classic work Christmas party and office banter!
“I worked in London agencies for years and Secret Santa was always a big deal - being part of one despite being on a remote island is a hilarious concept but something I’d really value.”
Gary is a night porter from Norwich and never sees another colleague during a typical work week.
“We night porters get left out of everything. There’s me and one other night porter and we never get invited out for Christmas drinks or even get Christmas cards. We can’t even socialise with each other as we cover each other’s shifts. If I work 32 hours a week, I will see somebody for a total of 30 minutes,”
“I have worked almost every Christmas, so it would be amazing to receive a Secret Santa this year and feel a little more connected to other lone workers out there!”
Matthew works in Costa Rica with his wife and dog MJ.
“I live in a treehouse community called 'Finca Bellavista' in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest. My job role is Chief Problem Solver within the community, helping come up with solutions to everyday off-grid problems.
“We have no phone signal up in the mountains of the Costa Rican rainforest and my job sees me all over the 620 acres of jungle either exploring, finding perfect trees for homes, inspecting water lines, documenting wildlife and insects.
“The community basecamp is a couple kilometers from my home, but sometimes I can go a whole week with no communication other than my wife.
“I think isolated workers are missing out on office-based Christmas traditions, like Secret Santa. I miss the Christmas vibe that the cold weather in the U.K brought as well as the festive spirit and cheer generated from the local communities. Receiving a mystery gift would make me feel like it's Christmas again!
Lisa is a dog groomer from Bury St Edmonds
“I spend most of my time working on perfecting the perfect poodle leg! I work at home. We converted an old kitchen into a salon. I have neighbours but most of them are at work all day so it's pretty much just me on the street. “I only see the dog mums and dads when they drop off and collect the dogs. Other than that, probably just the postman! “I probably have about 10% contact with clients and 90% of the time I’m working with the dogs. I have to make my own entertainment, really. I do miss the banter of an office environment. “I definitely feel like I’m missing out on office-based Christmas traditions, also all the xmas parties and cards. Receiving a Secret Santa present would feel like I had been included in something really special and it would definitely make my Christmas.”
If you’re a remote worker and would like to receive an extra special Secret Santa gift this Christmas, register your details here to enter.
The offer is available between 9th – 14th December on a first come, first serve basis.