How to Manage Retail Peak Season Stress
We all know the old cliché’ that working in retail during the holiday season can be pure hell. Your staff may be extra stressed and exhausted due to the increase in holiday shoppers trying to do their last-minute holiday gift shopping. It is important to put various procedures and plans in plan to help you and your staff combat festive peak season stress.
Here are some tips that business owners and managers can use to reduce the peak season stress amongst their staff.
It goes without saying that in order to reduce stress during the holiday peak season you have to do your research and be prepared. To combat peak season uncertainties, careful planning can help you feel like you have a sense of control and can prepare for any eventuality.
Make use of your Point of Sale analystics from the previous years in order to forecast many aspects to prepare for, such as top-selling items and peak business hours. Managers should build a checklist of the key activities to accomplish ahead of these hours.
The more prepared you are, the more calm you can be when your employees begin to feel stressed. That being said, you need to be open to change. No matter how prepared you are, there will always be adjustments and necessary changes. Once the peak starts, be sure that you keep an eye on operations so that you can adjust your plans and procedures accordingly.
Create a helpful culture.
If you feel overwhelmed, chances are your team feels the same way. Ensure that you keep a clear line of communication with every member of your team. Talk to them about how you recognize that everyone has a lot on their plate and tell them to speak up if they need help. Invest infrequent team meetings, even during the busiest of times.
You need to understand that your employees value a business that supports them, not only professionally, but also personally. Motivate staff and thank them for their hard work.
By doing so you can ensure that your staff work hard during the busy season and that your seasonal staff are willing to return the following year.
Schedule shifts carefully
To minimize stress you should not move around shifts at a whim. Be sure that you are clear about the working hours that you have set for your staff. Holiday shifts often mean that retail staff may have to work longer hours or overtime. Communicate with your staff about their schedule and ensure that your staff do not become overworked. Consider putting up a proper calendar that is accessible to all your staff or create a digital schedule list that your employees can be view from anywhere.
Allow for flexible holiday shifts, because during the holiday season your staff may have a number of family commitments which they would like to attend. This kind of schedule flexibility can help you and your staff feel a sense of predictability when it comes to scheduling.
Check your Inventory
One of the main ways to reduce retail stress is to ensure that your business has a fully stocked inventory. You don’t want customers to become frustrated when they cannot find what they are looking for. Ensure that a lot of your merchandise can be found on the retail floor. You don’t want staff to be constantly running back to the storeroom looking for popular items.
Make sure the store has plenty of bags, gift wrap, cash register tape, gift certificates, and all the necessary office supplies. Ensure that all your employees- whether full-time or seasonal- know exactly where all your festive supplies are. Check the currency in the cash registers and determine how much petty cash you should keep on hand.
Ensure that Operations run smoothly
Another key step to reduce staff stress is to ensure that all of your business operations run smoothly. For example, turning on alerts on your Point of Sale for when certain stock is running low. You may consider hiring more staff to help out with the holiday rush. Ensure that all your staff is aware of their roles and set up stations for different task is need be, such as packing or gift wrapping stations. It is your job to ensure that each team member is following the prescribed procedures for his or her area.
Your normal strategies and operations may have to be temporally altered to accommodate the busy holiday season. It may take some time for your full-time staff to adjust to these changes. Therefore, you need to make it clear to them how these changes will benefit them in a long run to deal with the influx of customers.
Smooth operations in a retail warehouse are imperative, especially during the peak season. If the warehouse can’t handle increased demand, delivery dates may be missed and customer relationships may suffer. Streamlining activities is an effective stress management strategy that will help the festive season run smoothly and prevent stress overload from kicking in.
In Conclusion For Combatting Peak Season Stress
If not managed properly the stress of the holiday season can take the joy out of the season. As a retailer, you need to be aware of this and go above and beyond to make things easier for your customers and your staff.