Top tips for managing your workforce during seasonal peaks

    Summer...everyone looks forward to it.

    However, for many employees it can mean long hours, tight deadlines, and soaring stress levels. 

    We all know summer is coming and, just like every year, this season can create a colossal surge in demand for a multitude of organisations – particularly those operating in retail, leisure and food manufacturing.

Seasonal peaks are often met through an annual influx of agency staff and temporary workers as well as relying on overtime. 

This additional spending on temporary labour impacts budgets significantly during this crucial period, whilst the burden of managing a temporarily enlarged workforce introduces additional risk.

Ensuring you have the optimum number of staff available with the right skills at the right time is a balancing act…and one that many can find daunting.

Getting the balance wrong during a seasonal peak can be costly and is often a characteristic of poorly designed labour models which provide the same level of labour regardless of the demand.

Unproductive and inefficient over-rostering can occur in environments where demand fluctuates hour-by-hour and day-by-day. 

This is often hidden by a change of pace, backfilling and creation of non-value adding tasks which don’t deal with the core problem of misalignment of supply and demand.

There’s also the issue of under-rostering, which leads to the use of expensive, untrained and unqualified temporary staff and can see errors and accidents caused by the fatigue and stress of overworking.

Furthermore, this gap in labour supply can result in a huge overtime requirement which has serious financial implications and leads to poor work-life balance for full-time employees.

So how can organisations deal with annual spikes?     

The answer lies in carefully analysing demand for labour and identifying if, when, why and by how much it changes throughout the year.

This data enables organisations to plan and design more responsive shift patterns that close the gap between supply and demand. 

Demand-led rostering systems using annualised hours state the contractual hours to be worked over a year instead of each week.

This enables organisations to increase or reduce planned hours in advance – to match the demand profile, cover the peaks and ensure service levels remain consistent throughout the day and year.

Having labour resources that are flexible and responsive to the needs of the employer and the marketplace ensures that demand is met with a significantly reduced requirement for agency staff, temporary workers or overtime.

For many organisations this helps them have a less fraught summer period.

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