The Results Are In: How Do You Handle the Extra Workload During the Holiday Season?

In October, we asked how you plan to handle the extra workload many businesses experience during the busy holiday season. From increased business volume to employees taking time off to be with family and friends, the fourth quarter often brings about a variety of productivity challenges.

Surprisingly, a majority of respondents either “don’t make any adjustments to their workforce” (35%) or “offer overtime and incentives to their current staff” (34%). “Hiring seasonal/temporary workers through a staffing firm” came in third with 21% of the votes, followed by “hiring full-time employees” and “outsourcing projects” at 4% and 2%, respectively.

Some respondents chose the “other” option and gave a variety of suggestions, including:

  • Prohibiting vacations in the month of December
  • Creating a system for allotting time off
  • Hiring summer students back
  • Working overtime without increase in pay/incentive

One industry that is often most affected by increased business volume during the holiday season is retail.

Holiday shopping projections look positive.
Professional services giant, Deloitte, recently released the results of its annual holiday survey. According to the survey, total holiday spending is expected to increase 12% over 2012 due in large part to an increase in consumer confidence and a more positive outlook on household finances and job security.

Online shopping continues to boom.
The Deloitte survey also found that for the first time, the “Internet” was cited as the top venue for shopping this holiday season, followed by “discount/value department stores” at 44% and “traditional department stores at 28%.

Social media will have an impact.
Nearly half (45%) of the respondents to the Deloitte survey say social media will play a role in their holiday shopping in a variety of ways:

  • Research gift ideas – 48%
  • To find discounts – 44%
  • Read reviews, “likes,” or recommendations – 40%
  • Browse products – 37%
  • Check what gifts family/friends want – 35%
  • Post comments/share links – 25%
  • Go to retailer’s fan page – 21%

In fact, consumers now feel they are more knowledgeable than ever about their choices. Nearly 60% of respondents said they feel they are better connected to consumer information – like coupons, pricing, and product availability – than in-store sales associates.

Despite increases in e-commerce, retailers still expected to hire.
While there’s little doubt about the significant impact of online shopping, retailers are still expected to hire as many as 780,000 seasonal workers for the 2013 holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Are the holidays a busy time for your company?
The NRF estimates that for many businesses, November and December sales can represent between 20-40% of a business’ annual sales. Are the holidays a busy time for your company? If so, how do you plan to address the increased business volume? Let us know in the comments section below.

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