Keep Christmas festive, not stress-tive, for retail workers

With Christmas around the corner, Erik Fjellborg, CEO and Founder of Quinyx, the market leader in workforce management, shares five top tips to ensure companies look after their elves this season.

  1. Don’t be a Grinch!

“Our recent study, ‘’Work That Keeps the UK Working’’, found that more than 1 in 5 UK workers feel that their schedules don’t allow them to spend enough time with family, and a further 17% say their schedules mean they have to miss important family occasions. Christmas is all about spending time with those closest to you, and many workers will be counting down the hours left on their shifts before they can join their families and friends for the celebrations.

At Quinyx, we know that happier employees are more productive ones.

By giving workers the flexibility to pick and change their shifts over the festive period – so they don’t have to miss those all-important carol concerts or get-togethers – businesses can create a more motivated workforce.’’

2. Create realistic targets and incentives

“Workers are often set increased targets over Christmas to handle and make the most of the busy period. But if these targets are unrealistic, morale can drop, and workers can feel set up to fail.

If you are increasing your targets over Christmas, collaborate with workers to ensure that they are feasible, and plan to reward them with positive incentives if they succeed. These could include finishing work early, time in lieu, or a bonus.’’

3. Don’t allow for surprises

“An unexpected gift under the tree is a far more welcome surprise than last minute calls in sick, or a family emergency. Meeting customer demand at Christmas can be difficult, but it is much harder if you are under-staffed.

Consider creating a short-notice cover rota for the Christmas period, where staff can choose to be contacted if someone is needed to step in and lend a hand. For those that agree to be on the rota, ensure that you keep their contact details to hand so they can be contacted quickly and easily during a staffing emergency.’’

4. Split night-work evenly

“As Christmas gets closer, many businesses turn to operating 24 hours a day in a bid to keep up with demand.

Night shift work is increasing, and our research shows it grew by 31% between 2011 and 2017. However, it is important that the burden of extra overnight shifts is shared evenly among your workforce. I recommend double checking your scheduling to make sure no one becomes nocturnal in the run up to Christmas.”

5. Keep an eye on awkward days

“Christmas eve falls on a Monday this year, making it an awkward working day between the weekend and the Christmas bank holiday. This could mean workers are more tempted to move shifts in order to secure a clean sweep of time off. Acknowledge awkward days early and have honest conversations with staff about resourcing plans and expectations.”

Quinyx’s Erik Fjellborg concluded: “Christmas is without a doubt the busiest time of year for retailers. The extra pressure can be stressful not only for workers, but also for those trying to schedule the right people to be in the right place at the right time. With your workers turning into Santa’s elves in December, helping everything run like clockwork and ensuring everyone has a fantastic time, it is only right we give them a festive season to look forward to, and look after their time as best we can.”

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