Working On Public Holiday? The Nigerian Hustle Never Stops


Ah, public holidays. A time for relaxation, family gatherings, and escaping the daily grind. But for many Nigerians, the joy of a designated day off can be overshadowed by the dreaded words: “Work from home.”

In Nigeria, the concept of a true public holiday seems to be a bit blurry. While many businesses officially close their doors, the pressure to stay connected and available for work often creeps in, blurring the lines between leisure and professional obligation.

The Ever-Present Hustle

Nigerians are known for their relentless work ethic, their “hustle” ingrained in the national identity. This drive to succeed, however, can sometimes clash with the purpose of public holidays.

A quick Twitter search reveals the sentiments of many Nigerians:

  • “Public holiday? My boss just sent an email with an urgent deadline. #NigerianHustleNeverStops”
  • “Sitting at my desk on a supposed ‘holiday’ catching up on work. Seriously need a break from this grind.”
  • “Public holidays in Nigeria are a joke. When will we actually get to rest?”

These tweets reflect a shared frustration: the feeling of not being able to fully disconnect and recharge on designated days off.

The Blame Game: Who’s to Fault?

There’s no single culprit for the “public holiday work creep” in Nigeria. Here are some contributing factors:

  • Competitive Business Environment: In a competitive market, some employers might feel pressured to keep operations running even on holidays, fearing a loss to competitors who remain operational.
  • Shifting Work Culture: With the rise of technology and remote work, the boundaries between work and personal life have become more blurred. This can lead to the expectation of constant availability, even on holidays.
  • Employee Pressure: In some cases, employees themselves might contribute to the problem, feeling pressured to prove their dedication by checking emails or attending to work-related matters on holidays.

Finding the Balance:

So, what can be done? Here are some steps towards a healthier work-life balance, even on public holidays in Nigeria:

  • Employers: Set clear expectations and boundaries. Encourage employees to take advantage of public holidays to rest and recharge.
  • Employees: Communicate your need for a break. Unless it’s a true emergency, avoid checking work emails or attending to work-related tasks on designated holidays.
  • Collective Action: A cultural shift may be needed. Open discussions and advocating for the importance of true rest days can encourage a more balanced approach.

The Takeaway:

Public holidays are meant to be a time for rest and rejuvenation. Nigerians deserve the opportunity to fully disconnect and recharge. By acknowledging the challenges and working towards solutions, we can create a work environment that allows for both productivity and well-being, even on those precious designated days off.