It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Delicious food, piles of presents, and for retail businesses, crowds of shoppers through the doors!
Retailers need to meet this demand with perfectly balanced schedules. Understaff your shops and you run the risk of missing sales targets. But overstaff, and wage costs will start to spiral.
A shift planning app can prove invaluable for finding this balance. Let’s take a closer look.
Unwrapping holiday season schedules
So, what exactly are the challenges of the festive period for retailers? Well, they’re much the same as during the rest of year, but hugely amplified.
- It’s busier than Santa’s workshop. You know how important this season is to year end revenue. It’s why retailers in the UK refer to October through December as the ‘golden quarter’.
Your stores are going to be packed. Not only with shoppers browsing for that last minute gift, but also coming in to collect online orders. In addition to employees behind the counter, others will be handling omnichannel purchases (whether that’s posting, receiving deliveries or gift wrapping).
- Bank holidays and special opening hours. Depending where you live in Europe or the UK, your company will be closing early or completely on Dec 24, 25 and 26. And may well be extending hours on other days (even opening 24/7 in some cases).
Your weekly schedules will need to be adapted, and if your business is operating internationally, all these different holidays have to be taken into account.
- Staff want more time off. Your employees will be asking for vacation during December. Even if they’re not celebrating a particular holiday, it’s still a time to spend with friends and families. You’ll want to be as accommodating as you can to all these requests, while still building a working rota.
The advantages of a shift planning app
In some cases, a shift planning app is standalone. In others, like tamigo, it’s a mobile-first version of our workforce management (WFM) solution.
The two versions share a lot of features, but the app has the benefit of being accessible on the go. And this translates to a bunch of advantages around scheduling.
Employees get their preferred hours
With staff wanting more flexibility over their holiday hours, a shift planning app can make them real collaborators in the scheduling process.
Here’s what staff can do in the tamigo app:
- Swap shifts. Plans change. Suddenly an employee can’t work Christmas Eve after all. Instead, they’d rather work New Year’s Eve. A shift swap is needed!
In the tamigo app, the swapper searches in the schedule to see who’s working New Year’s Eve. They send a shift swap request for the swappee to accept. After that, their manager is notified to approve or reject it.
Your business can also configure swaps to be automatic, without needing the manager’s final approval. Either way, tamigo automatically ensures swaps are both possible and compliant — to both your internal business rules but also local labour laws and collective agreements.
- Request holidays. Get your workforce’s vacation calendar sorted early. Give everyone a deadline to request holidays over the festive season through the app. Managers then have a clear overview of planned absences and potential staffing gaps in the weeks and months ahead.
- Bid on shifts. During most of year, managers can take top-down approach to planning schedules. But during the holidays, a different approach might be needed. Even the most carefully planned December shift plans are sure to trigger a volley of “but I can’t work that day” replies from staff.
Instead, managers can make a range of shifts available in tamigo. Employees are notified and can browse through these shifts to see which ones suit them best.
Managers can make changes on the go
The week always has surprises up its sleeve: an extra busy day on Tuesday, two employees calling in sick on Thursday. Add to that the extra headache over the holidays of delayed deliveries or low inventory.
All these scenarios require quick, agile scheduling.
With a shift app, you can adapt to this whirlwind in a couple of taps on your smartphone. Edit and add shifts, approve shift swaps, find out who’s available to come in on short notice.
No matter what changes are made, everything’s saved in real-time. Everyone throughout the company always gets the most up to date schedule at their fingertips.
Further reading: How ALDI Denmark save their store managers 30 minutes of admin a day.
Communication is so much easier
A shift planning app eliminates the need for emails or calls every time the schedule changes. Employees are notified instantly through the app. Managers save so much time, while staff can trust they’re being kept in the loop.
tamigo also serves as space for daily internal communication.
tamigo Chat, our in-built instant messaging tool, gives employees the chance to message each other or their manager. Meanwhile, users with the right permissions can send out no-reply announcements - to the whole company, or just to specific departments or groups of staff.
The holidays are serious business for retailers. A shift planning app can help businesses not just cope with the extra demand, but positively prosper. The same goes for the other tools in tamigo’s all-in-one WFM solution, from KPI reporting to payroll exports.
To learn more, head to our retail page below.