(image: Christmas Stock Images)

Did you read our first piece on how to prepare your business for the Christmas season? Well, here’s part 2, where we delve further into the details of the magical winter wonderland of seasonal shopping online and on the high street.

Christmas Temps

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also the busiest. Expect to have much more customer interest and hopefully sales. To keep up with demand some companies opt to hire Christmas temps. These are temporary employees who work in the run up to Christmas and during the January sales before their contract ends.

This is a great way of managing workloads, and these staff are often more willing to put in the extra hours on days which regular staff will have booked off to spend with family. So whether you need more people in customer facing positions or out the back in the stockroom, temps may be the answer.

Start thinking about finding temporary staff well in advance, especially if you recruit through an agency, as these workers will be snapped up quickly during this highly demanding time. For a more cost effective option, hire directly and cut out the middle-man; an ad in the shop window should be enough.

Expect a lot of your new workforce to be between 16 and 21 looking for work outside of education hours/terms in order to afford to buy presents and enjoy the festive period. They may well need on-the-job training, so plan accordingly.

But how many extra staff should you hire? Well, that all comes down to the facts and figures. How many staff you need and can afford may be two different things. Hiring will depend on the expected number of customers and predicted profits. After all, you’re in the business of making money.

Christmas Shut Down

Nearly everywhere is closed on Christmas Day. No one wants to work that day unless they have to, and very few people will be out shopping. It would probably cost you more to open up for the day. Whether you open Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and the New Year is completely up to you and your business capabilities.

Most major retail stores will be open every day of the year bar Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. On ‘special’ days however, trading hours may be shorter than usual – maybe 11 till 5. Smaller businesses are more likely to shut down from Christmas Eve until after New Year’s Day.

Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are officially UK bank holidays, so be aware that if you decide to open on these days that you must pay your staff at least time and a half.

However long you decide to shut up shop for, make sure to communicate this to your customers. Place your Christmas opening hours in your shop window and do the same on the homepage of the business’ website; you could even include these hours in your email newsletters. Informed customers are happy customers.

What will you be doing this Christmas? Will your workforce grow enormously? And what days will you open? Let us know what you think is best for business.