A difficult concept for many managers to understand is how to manage the flow of people and resources during the holidays. This is especially true in retail, where the ebb and flow of business over the holidays is critical to monitor and manage to maximize revenue and minimize disruption in service.
Some ways to manage this tough time include:
1. Split shifts – those working in retail know they are going to be expected to work long hours during the holidays, so by splitting a shift into 2 five-hour blocks with an extended break in the middle can work to maximize productivity and minimize over coverage in non-peak times. This may not be effective if you have employees who live far from the store location, but for those who live close by, having them work 8am-1pm or 9-2 and then come back from 5-10 or 6-11 can help you manage coverage and minimize burnout.
2. Not extending holiday hours unreasonably – does it really make sense to stay open until 11pm every night of the holiday season? Certainly, some shopping centers have rules that require stores to all be open at the same time. But if your property allows for flexibility, consider closing early when possible, especially on weeknights.
3. Having minimal staff on New Year’s Day. Typically a slow shopping day, minimizing staff on this day can allow you to let staff recover from the long holiday season without wasting resources. Again, if you are open from 10-6 New Year’s Day, you can probably afford to run with a minimal crew working 5 hour shifts instead of 8 hour shifts.
Best of wishes to you all this holiday season!