Fall is here and that means one thing… the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte!
But if overly sweet coffee isn’t your jam, maybe Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the other upcoming festive seasons are. It’s a busy time for all retailers and warehouses - last year NRF reported that the number of online Black Friday shoppers reached the 100 million mark (😅)!
Before COVID hit, Thanksgiving took #1 place for busiest day for in-store activity with 84.2 million shoppers. Compare that to 93.2 million consumers who shopped online during Black Friday 2019, and you’ll understand the importance of your employee scheduling.
Take a minute (and maybe a Pumpkin Spice), and read the advice of why flexible scheduling will make Black Friday a smooth, sure-fire success for your business, your employees and your customers.
1. Bend and don’t break
There’s an old saying that tells us the green reed will bend in the storm but the mighty oak will break.
You need to be the green reed and that means being flexible with your schedules. Keep your Black Friday schedule rigid and you’ll break like the mighty oak. Be flexible and you’ll easily be able to adapt to the conditions around you and weather the Black Friday storm with ease. Flexibility will also ensure your employees don’t break, which signals that you take their wellbeing seriously.
After all, deskless workers ranked having a flexible schedule as one of the top most important things in a job, and 42% saying their personal care suffers because of inflexible schedules. That is definitely something worth paying attention to.
2. Let your employees do the scheduling
Let your employees be part of the scheduling process, and let them swap shifts with each other. Not only will you increase their involvement in the business (and allow them to be the ruler of their time!), but it will also save you as a manager, 8 minutes per scheduling change. That's not all - you’ll limit the unnecessary stress caused by trying to call, email or text to find replacements for your last minute changes in the schedule. After all, winter is coming and people calling in sick won’t come as a surprise.
According to The State of the Deskless Workforce, 29% have to call their manager to change shifts, and only 13% indicate that their employer doesn't have a tool or app that makes it easy to swap shifts directly with colleagues. A very low number considering the advanced digital landscape we live in.
This can easily be solved by using a state-of-the-art scheduling tool. Creating a Black Friday schedule will be easier and you’ll always have the right people in the right place at the right time. A win in terms of hassle-free scheduling for both the business and your employees.
3. Prepare for peak hours
You might need to dust off your wizard’s cape and witch’s hat for this (but it’s Halloween soon so that’s cool right?). Put them on, dust off your crystal ball, gaze into it intently and wait for it to tell you what the future holds.
Drawing a blank? We thought that might happen but we’ve got you covered.
AI-driven demand forecasting is much better than a crystal ball. By planning strategically and creating accurate forecasts - and top it off with smart AI-driven algorithms - you can in advance see when your peak periods during the Black Friday weekend will be.
This means you can significantly reduce your overtime costs, avoid overstaffing and avoid understaffing - something 65% of deskless workers say makes work feel more stressful.
The best WFM tools will also help capture different demand drivers like transactions, footfall and revenue per location and department, making your forecasts more accurate than ever before.
To sum it up, the secret is to be prepared and to create convenience for your employees in the schedules. Flexibility and digital tools like AI-driven WFM software will be your best friends, and will make Black Friday a success for your business.
Want to know more about what your employees really want? Then download our State of the Deskless Workforce Report to find out.