Fall is here and that means two major things…it’s now appropriate to drink a pumpkin spice latte—no judgment if you drank it during the summer—and sale season!
That’s right Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two events where camping outside your local department store or furiously refreshing your web browser to score the biggest deals is absolutely a requirement.
But even more specifically, it’s a busy time for all retailers and warehouses. In fact, in 2021, NRF reported that in the US, nearly 180 million people shopped during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.
And if last Thanksgiving season is any indication, the major shopping crowds will only continue to grow. So to be ready, you and your team need to be in tip-top shape, meaning flexible schedules that help them to perform their best, deliver the best customer experiences, and avoid absenteeism—because you know winter is coming.
1. Flexible schedules don’t have to be scary
The way we work has rapidly changed. Where it was once thought impossible for employees to work from home and be productive, recent studies have proven otherwise. In fact, before it became the norm, a Stanford study found that employees who work from home are 13% more productive than in an office environment. Well, the frontline workforce is no different. Although working from home is not typically an option, flexible schedules are and produce a very similar effect.
In their latest report, Forrester highlights that "scheduling doesn’t have to be unpredictable. Inconsistent and unpredictable scheduling is a near-universal pain point for frontline employees, who don’t know if they will be working, when, or for how long on a week-to-week basis. Some companies have confronted this problem head-on and showed that improved scheduling helps the business.”
So for this Black Friday, flexible schedules will allow you and your staff to easily adapt to the conditions around you. Flexibility will also ensure your employees don’t burn out but instead stay refreshed, focused, and able to deliver excellent customer service.
After all, deskless workers ranked having a flexible schedule as one of the top most important things in a job, and 42% said their personal care suffers because of inflexible schedules. When employees suffer, their work suffers, customers have subpar experiences, and ultimately the business is affected. That is definitely something worth paying attention to.
2. Let your employees do the scheduling
Let your employees be part of the scheduling process. Not only will you show that you respect their time and prioritize their right to a work-life balance but as a manager, you’ll also save 8 minutes per scheduling change (trust us, that stacks up when hundreds of employees need schedule changes). To top it off, 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.
According to The State of the Deskless Workforce, 29% of workers have to call their manager to change shifts, while only 13% use a tool or app that makes it easy to swap shifts directly with colleagues. This is a very low number considering the advanced digital landscape we live in, and since most of us live our lives with our phones in hand, a scheduling app is the only true future-proof solution for a newer generation of workers.
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 topping them off with smart AI-driven algorithms—you can see in advance when your peak periods during the Black Friday weekend will be.
This means you can significantly reduce your overtime costs and avoid overstaffing and understaffing–something 62% 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. Tools that are truly comprehensive will also help frontline workers to complete their tasks more easily by simplifying task handoffs when shifts have changed, improving communication between corporate and in-store staff, and creating measures that ensure tasks are completed, and managers are notified.
To sum it up, the secret is to be prepared and to create convenience for your employees in their 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.