How Black Friday and Cyber Monday Will Affect Your Workforce

By Lilly Collins

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With the American traditions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday growing in popularity among Canadians, retailers can expect to see $13.4 billion in sales between the two days.  However, with so many people out for the day shopping, what does this mean for employers? 

According to a new survey from IPG Mediabrands, a remarkable 1 million Canadians will call in sick on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday to participate in the shopping frenzy.

Now don’t be too worried, employers— Though you can expect a number of your staff to be “out sick”, a total of 4.1 million Canadians will, respectably so, be using their vacation days on these U.S. Thanksgiving holidays so at least your business can try to plan accordingly.

Regardless, whether it is pre-planned or spontaneous, with nearly 5 million employees expected to be out of the office around the holiday weekend, it is clear that business operations will need to be altered to appropriately accommodate for being understaffed.  Though being short-staffed is never a desired position to be in, with the right mindset and awareness going into it, any employer will be able to make it out alive!

Plan Ahead

In anticipation of being understaffed, it is critical to have a contingency plan for the work that will need to be re-distributed in the absence of employees.  Planning ahead and getting work done in advance will help dilute the workload and maintain productivity— just because half the office has prioritized that new Apple Watch, Beats by Dre headphones or iPhone 6 doesn’t mean you have to suffer.  Try to identify the areas that will be effected by the lack of man power and prepare a response plan.  Any problem that may occur will be minimized if the proper planning has been done beforehand.

Stay Focused

Staying focused and dedicated to high performance and delivering quality products during stressful times when the office is understaffed is certainly difficult; however these actions are necessary to succeed in these situations.  Balancing the workload and focusing on what needs to be accomplished for the day will help you manage stress levels.  Focusing on one task at a time will help keep you calm and efficient; taking on too many tasks at one time will leave you unproductive and it is likely that nothing will fully be completed to the standard you require.  And though you might need that extra cup of coffee to get through it all, at least you had a full night’s rest and weren’t waiting in line in the cold outside of Target for nine hours after midnight!

Work as Team

Most importantly, remember that working as a team and being able to utilize each other is a great way to conquer a work day, short-staffed or not!  Keep the group mentality high and support one another (not just because everyone else is out shopping and you’re not) so that every task is given the attention it requires.  Communicate the strategic vision for the day and be sure everyone is on board with the plan and you will be able to successfully survive the employers’ nightmare of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.



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