Peak is the time of the year when the pressure sky-rockets, particularly for businesses across supply chain, logistics, e-commerce and retail. And this year is one like no other – it’s predicted that online sales will grow to historic levels due to the nation’s reluctance to shop in brick and mortar stores. The consequence of any warehousing, stock, and staffing issues will be more damaging than at other times of the year, and magnified significantly. Without meticulous plans in place, these issues can heavily impact an organisation’s success. Here are six handy tips to help you smash through peak season and come out of the other side stronger.

1. Prepare your rota well in advance (like…yesterday).

Sounds obvious – but staffing for peak season requires a fine balance; the gap between understaffing and overstaffing can often be very narrow yet can heavily impact productivity and your bottom line. 

Changing demand is one of the most prominent reasons for using temporary employees. Planning your rota well in advance, understanding where the gaps are, then building your own army of temporary workers will ensure you’re prepared for the battle ahead.  

Syft allows you to instantly book the staff you need, when you need them. Our rota feature allows you to see a schedule of the workers you have booked and where, all in one place. No more painstaking rota building – we know you don’t have time for that.

2. Be flexible with your shifts. 

Consider extending standard shifts by an hour or two per day for the peak season; add an extra day if you normally operate five or six days per week, or even introduce an extra shift on a daily basis. This will give add an extra day or two onto the work week.

3. Make data your best friend.  

Hiring staff should not be driven by common practices or emotions, but rather by objective data. 

If you’re a multiple venue owner responsible for recruiting on a large scale, decisions should rely on objective data to yield most effective results. Syft’s workforce management tool, SyftForce, provides real-time reporting dashboards for a holistic view of performance – with actionable insights on shift fulfilment, repeat worker rate, average worker rating and forecasted spend – enabling you to make smart and informed staffing decisions throughout the peak season. 

4. Get your returns process in tip top condition.

With the influx of stock coming and going it’s crucial that your returns process is primed to deal with increased volumes. Reverse logistics should be factored into plans to ensure stock is available for resale, as well as communicating with customers on any delays or extensions, especially around Black Friday and Christmas.

5. Build a peak season army ready to conquer.

During the peak season employers may require team members to arrive earlier and finish later than usual, plus be more stringent with break times. However, on a large scale this could cause a few problems; it’s challenging for staffing managers to check all workers are present and on time, and there’s a risk of overworking team members, which can damage staff productivity and retention. How can employers deal with this?

Using Syft’s platform, employers are able to post shifts which clearly outline the time and date, working hours and break details, so workers are fully aware of expectations before they claim the shift. When Syfters arrive, staffing managers can check them in using a QR code scanner, which is quick and offers transparency for all parties. 

Syft let’s you build a bespoke pool of your favourite, reliable workers. Continually hiring the same group minimises the risk of no shows and means less time inducting new workers to shifts.

6. Winter sales are coming!

For most businesses, the Christmas period doesn’t end in December. New Year and Winter sales are a great opportunity for you to clear out any seasonal stock. This period can be just as manic as the build up to Christmas, as orders are still being placed, goods still need picking and packing and deliveries still need to be made. 

Keeping your temporary hires onboard until after this busy sale period will help you make the most of incoming sales!

7. Remember employee burnout is an organisational issue, not an individual one.

The effectiveness of your peak season will ultimately boil down to your people. Before getting swept up in the excitement of peak, make sure provisions have been put in place to ensure your workers’ welfare is at the forefront. The increased demand, without proper consideration, can lead to stressed out teams – increasing the risk of employee burnout.

High burnout rates have little to do with individual employees and everything to do with company culture and operations. Before the busy period commences, why try to streamline operations? Could the approval process be improved? Or is there a way to give workers more autonomy?

If different ways of working and organisational change aren’t realistic, consider some temporary staff to alleviate hefty workloads on permanent employees.

Download the app today and let Syft take some of the strain this peak season.

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