Without a doubt, staffing during the holiday shopping season can become difficult while you try to meet a rise in orders, cover for staff on vacation, and balance full-time employees and temporary employees. Further training is involved, scheduling becomes an algorithm, and—most importantly—you’re being put to the test by your customers. But what happens after the rush? Here are a few tips to consider when the holiday rush is over and you need to reconfigure your scheduling.
Use Whatever Staffing Resources Available
Part of this balancing act is remembering that, just like your customers, your employees need family time and traveling time after the holiday season. A lot of your staff will be more willing to work overtime during the holiday rush if they know they’ll have vacation time afterwards. That’s when you might want to consider outside temp services or hiring seasonal, part-time employees. But timing is key: if you hire temp works or seasonal employees too late, you’ll be spending important time training your employees rather than filling orders. Plus, you won’t have key staff around to conduct the training. Train early and equip seasonal employees with the know-how to keep things running.
After you fill those countless orders—especially ecommerce orders—you need to be prepared to handle returns. That goes into seasonal training, too. Equip your staff with the time and resources to handle a large influx of return orders. The faster you can complete these orders, the better the chances of your customers purchasing from you again in the following year.
Prepare For the Lull
It’s a tough call to know just how busy you’ll be after a holiday shopping rush. With returns, it’s hard to predict exactly what you’ll face—and that’s why, as much as you prepare for a high volume of orders during the shopping season, you also need to prepare for a rush or lull in return orders. A flexible team helps this. Prepare your staff so they know that, possibly, they’ll still need to be available for overtime hours. Or they might face time off. If you prepare for this flexibility early, you better the chances of being capable of processing return orders.