How to cope with staff summer holidays

Summer brings an annual headache for many growing businesses; increased trade combined with staff summer holidays. Business finance firm Bibby Financial Services offers some tips on dealing with this difficult time.

Ten tips for managing staff holidays.

1. Take a history lesson – look at the seasonal trends that have occurred in the past and plan accordingly.

2. Be prepared – make sure that all documentation is clear and filing is kept up to date so that even when dealing with an increased number of customers, you will always have the information you need at your fingertips.

3. Don’t over-estimate when ordering stock as this can result in cash being tied up in goods you can’t shift as demand for you product falls after the busy period.

4. Keep the cash flowing. When taking on increased volumes of work, it is imperative that you have suitable finance options in place; otherwise you could be in a position where you are unable to fund new orders and may have to turn customers away.

5. Build good working relationships with your suppliers all year round, not just during your busiest periods. When the pressure is really on and you need their assistance, they will be more likely to help.

6. Consider taking on students and graduates who are looking for work experience. Often they will be bright, enthusiastic and most importantly, won’t break the bank.

7. Make sure you have enough temporary staff to manage increased workload as well as covering for staff holidays. This will ensure your service levels do not suffer.

8. Take a break yourself. It is not always possible for you to take a holiday at peak trading times, but it does not mean that you can’t take a break at all. Consider a long weekend instead.

9. Even if you are used to handling everything yourself, make sure you appoint a reliable and trustworthy second in command for the really busy times. Keep them fully briefed on all aspects of the business so you can delegate responsibility if necessary,

10. Keep staff motivated through particularly busy times by organising a summer party at the end of the busy period to show them that they are part of the success and that you value their hard work.

Staff suffer summer holiday blues

Most British employees do not settle back into a regular working pattern immediately after a summer holiday, with a third dreading returning to the office, claims a survey.

Some 39 per cent of workers take at least a day to get back into the swing of things after a break, with one in six taking two or three days to return to normal, according to a survey of 1,900 British adults by staff development specialist Investors in People.

Almost a third (32 per cent) blame being demotivated for their failure to get back into their routine, while a similar number (34 per cent) compain of having too many emails to deal with.

Simon Jones, CEO of Investors in People (UK), says, ‘Employers can ill-afford a post-holiday productivity gap and should do everything they can to ensure people slot back in and quickly banish any “holiday hangover”.’

Jones adds that post-holiday briefings or ‘mini re-inductions’ can help galvanise workers to deliver what the business needs.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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