The holiday season is an exciting time of year for businesses. However, the holiday rush stretches their resources thin as some businesses try to meet the high demand. For others, work has slowed down considerably and won’t pick up again until spring.
Whether your workload rises or falls this holiday season, scheduling out your business responsibilities will help you make the most of the winter months. The following tips can help you organize your efforts, manage your time, and execute plans needed for holiday success:
Plan in Advance
Your holiday scheduling should start well before the snow begins to fall. There are many things you need to get in order in advance that will make the holiday season so much easier to handle. So start making your plan as soon as possible.
All of your shipping should be done now—that’s one of the best things you can plan in advance. Stocking up in advance can get you what you need without backorders and shortages cutting off your supply. Any other infrastructure adjustments you can think of should also go into this plan.
Make a Daily Checklist
Each day, set a checklist of things you want to accomplish for that day. Your checklist can include any scheduled appointments you have, sales calls to make, or logistical tasks that need to be completed. You can have a checklist for the entire team—or you can break it down for each individual employee.
For busy companies, this will help break down the workload into more manageable doses. It also ensures that nothing falls through the cracks due to the high intensity of the season.
For companies that are slow going this time of year, a checklist can provide some tasks to be completed when there’s no other work to be done. So start making checklists for deep cleans, organizational overhauls, and new year planning.
Pin Down Your Employees’ Scheduling
Getting your team’s work schedules in sync will get your company to hit the ground running each and every day. Reducing scheduling confusion and making sure every day is well-staffed will take care of many holiday headaches.
Businesses with high demand levels will need to make sure that enough employees are scheduled each day to take on the workload. They can even consider hiring seasonal employees to take some of the strain off regular employees who don’t want to work too much overtime.
When the holiday season slows to a standstill, you can consider adjusting your employee scheduling to give your workers more time off. If there’s no need to have a full staff clock in each day, you can cut costs by offering some extra vacation time to your employees.
Set Short Term Goals
Goals will give you something to work for until the end of the year. It will also concentrate your efforts on something attainable instead of doing nothing but a bunch of busywork.
You can set a goal to try and get ahead on shipments in an attempt to stay ahead of the demand or close up shop early for the weekend. You can also set goals for projected revenue, orders filled, and customer reviews. Whatever it is you hope to accomplish, make it a plan you can write down and measure.
Take Advantage of Holiday Marketing
The holiday season is one of the easiest times of year for businesses to market themselves. Consumers are more active this time of year in their hunt for gifts and sales. Holiday themes are easy to pull off for your graphics, videos, and other campaigns, as it’s what customers expect to see anyway.
Make a plan to push out plenty of holiday content to get customers lining out the door. With your other holiday preparations in place, you should have no problem with the boost your marketing will give you. To make the process a cinch, use your online calendar to lay out content in advance and watch it work its magic.
Make Room for Social Distancing
We still have some ongoing concerns about COVID-19 with the breakthrough cases and the Delta variant. Businesses need to keep the virus in mind when planning for this time of year, when stores typically get more crowded than usual, and social distancing will be put to the test.
You can try and use scheduling as a way to keep COVID-19 and the flu virus at bay. For example, if possible for your business, you can use an appointment booking method to better control the influx of customers, preventing crowds that make social distancing impossible. You can also spread out sales over a more extended period of time so that there’s no single rush of customers on a given day.
Give Back and Give Often
The holiday season is all about giving. You and your company should make the time in your schedule to give back to employees, customers, and the community as thanks for a successful year (or, in this case, surviving a difficult one).
You can partner with local charities and organizations to donate materials or put together a team of volunteers to help out with a project. You can also put together gift packages for your customers and employees, the backbone of any company. That is what the holidays are all about, after all.
You’ve had your plans ready for your successful holiday season done for months—now it’s time to execute them. The further ahead you’re able to schedule out, the better prepared you’ll be for anything that comes your way.
By Howie Jones