CHRISTMAS will begin a little earlier than usual for office workers this year -- by a whole hour.
New research has found that 76pc of employees can expect to finish up for Christmas tomorrow at the earlier time of 4pm -- but bosses are being urged to make sure to "crack the whip" until then.
Alan Price, of Peninsula Ireland, the group behind the study, said that while he doesn't mean to sound like Scrooge, "Christmas doesn't begin until next week".
He added: "Festive celebrations are premature when we still have a few more working days left . . . There is still more work to be done.
"Of course I can see why employees like to take their foot off the gas, the Christmas decorations are put up, the merry music begins to play and the festivities commence.
"However, we have to remember it's business as usual, and for many companies this should be the case right up until the last day of work."
Chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, David Fitzsimons, said that people should be let off early where possible.
He said: "A lot of people are waiting to get paid on Friday. Not only that, but the weather recently has been terrible. In the spirit of Christmas, yeah, I say let them off an hour early to buy some presents."