Employers in the retail sector know all too well the wistful day dreaming that comes with the summer months. As temperatures rise, holidays increase, and childcare demands become six weeks long, employers could turn down the rising heat their workers are facing, by offering flexibility when they need it most.
So as summer gets into full swing, Erik Fjellborg, CEO and founder of Quinyx, the workforce management expert, explains how retailers can embrace flexibility over the next few months.
Plan for holiday season
Summer sees an influx of holidays come through the diary, which can leave employers stretched and struggling to find cover when needed. As soon as requests start coming in, managers should ensure every day off is accounted for so that action can be taken if certain weeks are looking particularly thin.
On top of keeping an eye on staff holidays, managers should also consider if major summer events will see some areas of their business more stretched than others, such as summer sales and the back to school rush. Making sure this is factored into plans means that there shouldn’t be any surprises when staff start to jet off to enjoy a break.
Think of the children (and parents!)
According to our research, 14% of retail workers go as far as to say that their family life is suffering because of a lack of flexibility at work – a statistic that can only be exacerbated by parents facing a six week (or sometimes longer!) summer. By providing flexible working to all staff members, parents facing a childcare conundrum can move shifts where needed, start later or even work from home to help ease stress around childcare.
Try something small
Flexibility doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul all at once. By starting small in the summer months and letting people finish early, or take longer lunch breaks – employers can see the difference this makes in productivity and engagement, and use this as a benchmark for bigger and more long-term changes. One of the biggest issues holding back flexibility is fear this will reduce the amount of work achieved, despite the fact all the stats suggest the opposite. By taking small steps in summer and seeing the benefits now, managers will be in good stead to suggest bigger changes in future.
Fjellborg concluded: “Summer holidays can be an exciting time for some, but as productivity wanes and childcare stresses increases, there really is no better time to trial a flexible working policy. Small steps at this point in the year can lay great groundwork for future plans – and as summer sizzles on, your employees will thank you by returning higher levels of engagement and productivity.”