By now most seasonal businesses would have locked in their Christmas plans, hired their casuals, planned their trading hours and approved leave.

But what will be different in a COVID world? ATEO have been working with our customers to create a list of key challenges to consider?

Trading Hours

Currently it is very had to predict trading hours next week, let alone 2 months’ time. Key things to consider

  • Will trading hours need to extend earlier to reduce crowding of stores?
  • What are the penalty implications of increased trading hours?
  • Will government policy impact trading hours?

Customer Profiles

  • Will the type of customer change (online vs. click and collect vs. in store shopping)?
  • How will the in store behaviour of customers change (reduction in browsing, expectation on interaction with staff)?
  • What measures are required to keep the customer safe (capping maximum customer numbers, cleaning changes, layout changes to allow for social distancing)?
  • How will customer demand change given both workforce and travel uncertainty and the impacts on restrictions during 2020?

Staffing Profiles

  • What will be the maximum density of staffing that can be safely maintained and what impact will that have or your customer service / output?
  • What changes to trading hours and social distancing measures will impact the number of staff that you need by time of day?
  • How will staff expectations of leave change, particularly when leave has been forced, or conversely if no leave has been taken?

Government Policy

  • Will curfews or business restrictions still exist in regions and how will they trade and / or trading hours?
  • How will government payments (Job Keeper / Seeker) impact the ability to engage staff and / or hire staff?
  • What additional costs will need to be covered including COVID safe plans, compliance, and monitoring?
  • How will staff planning change to mitigate the risk of government policy change?
  • How will companies risk manage investment vs. uncertainty in all parts of the business?

Key Takeaways

This Christmas is going to be even harder to plan for than usual. Those businesses who are capable of dynamic planning rather than set and forget planning will be the most successful. Labour impacts are often the overlooked area when planning for uncertainty so don’t forget to review your labour plans regularly and hopefully this Christmas will be the launching pad into a great 2021.


Author: Scott Gavens   LinkedIn Logo

Scott is a Workforce Management Solutions expert helping business manage complex change through unique solutions. He has delivered solutions for more than a million employees covering over 5,000 customer sites.

Contact ATEO today if you need any advice on the changes needed to manage the impacts to your workforce.