In a normal year, the holiday season usually is the most wonderful time of the year, or at least one of them. Last year was definitely not a normal year; this year is looking better. Realistically, however, there are probably still going to be restrictions in place. With that in mind, here are some tips on managing the holiday season 2021-2022.
Plan your opening hours
For practical purposes, when it comes to the holiday season, there are two kinds of businesses. The first kind slows down (almost) to a halt. The second kind is (usually) at its very busiest.
If you’re in the first group, you might want to consider just closing for the holidays. This could give your team the opportunity to enjoy what festivities are available since they probably missed out last year.
If you’re in the second group, you’re going to need to think very carefully about how to manage the traffic. For example, you may need to redesign your layout and reduce the amount of stock you keep in-store to allow more space for people to circulate safely. This might create the need for an alternative storage location and a process for moving stock from A to B.
Start making staffing plans now
Assuming you’re staying open, you’ll need staff. Be prepared for a lot of staff to want time off this holiday season. Again, they’re probably going to want to make up for the time they lost in 2020-2021. This means that it’s a good idea to have at least a provisional staff rota in place as soon as possible. Getting everything “on paper” can help to keep everyone on the same page.
Remember, however, that a rota is never truly “locked-in” until the end of the day it relates to. Staff can leave or need urgent time off for personal reasons. They can also get sick at any time and, realistically, this is particularly likely in fall and winter. Sadly, the holiday season is also peak cold and flu season.
For this reason, and others, you might want to think about having extra staff lined up. At the very least, you might want to have an agency/freelancers on speed dial just in case. Think about what training they would need and how you’d provide it. Really, everything a new hire would want to know should be documented already. If it isn’t, this is something you should address as a priority.
Schedule in some time for fun
Even though it looks like COVID19 restrictions will still be in place, hopefully, they will be a lot less onerous than last year. Very small businesses might even be able to manage a decent on-site party. Realistically, however, larger businesses might want to look at a hybrid/remote party. In fact, even smaller businesses might want to play safe and go down the hybrid/remote route.
This may seem disappointing at first but well-run hybrid/remote parties can be just as much fun as on-site ones. What’s more, there are all kinds of remote holiday party themes to choose from. Depending on your budget, you might want to send your team a hamper for the party or give them some money/vouchers to stock up for it.