Managing your team’s work schedule in your shop
Do you own a shop? Do you have a team of employees? This article is for you!
Read on for advice and practical tips on managing your team’s work schedule.
There’s often a difference between the hours specified in employee contracts and a shop’s opening hours. Luckily, this problem is not insurmountable, but it may require some organisational flexibility!
Here are the steps you need to take to manage your team’s schedule.
The steps to managing your team’s work schedule
I suggest the following steps to manage your shop’s working hours.
Step 1: Calculate your opening hours
The opening hours of your shop should be calculated carefully before you open your shop!
You’ll need to take the following factors into account:
- the opening hours of your competitors (so that you can match this or even offer longer opening hours),
- the times when your customers are available to come into the shop (a shop which is open in the middle of the night, in a small town, will probably not have many customers!),
- your own availability and constraints, as well as those of your employees.
Although it’s always possible to change your opening hours after opening your shop, you should avoid changing them too often as this can cause confusion for your customers.
Step 2: Analyse your peak traffic periods
It’s also important and helpful to analyse the periods of peak traffic in your shop.
Perhaps there’s a real lull in business on Thursday mornings? Perhaps lots of customers visit on Saturday afternoons?
This information is vital for managing your schedule because it determines whether or not you need to have your team in the shop.
If you have very few customers on Thursday mornings, you can easily manage the shop on your own and give your employees the morning off.
On the other hand, if Saturdays are very busy, everyone should be there :)
How do you identify these peak periods? In practice, it’s easy to see this when you work in your shop. But for more detailed analysis, most professional cash register software includes an analysis module which makes it possible to generate dashboards. Most of these dashboards will include a breakdown of sales per hour/day of the week!
Step 3: Identify the key actions to be taken
Running a shop involves more than welcoming, advising and selling to customers.
You undoubtedly have many other things to do: managing deliveries from suppliers, cleaning and maintaining the premises, etc.
I recommend listing these key actions (excluding sales and advice), along with:
- the time needed each week to complete them (e.g. 3 hours to clean the whole shop),
- the staff member(s) trained to carry out these tasks,
- the frequency with which these tasks are carried out.
Step 4: Consider the constraints of each employee
The members of your team probably each have their own constraints.
These constraints may be linked to their employment contract: a part-time employee will not have the same availability as a full-time employee.
They may also be linked to their personal circumstances: an employee with young children needs to be able to look after them at certain times of the day (e.g. dropping them off at school in the morning and picking them up in the evening).
Make a list of your employees, together with their specific time constraints.
Step 5: Organise and structure with the right tools
Now you have all the information you need to create your schedule.
Compile all the information, then plan a team meeting, the aim of which will be to create a schedule for a typical week, including the following information:
- each employee’s hours (in accordance with their employment contract),
- the tasks to be carried out for each employee, along with the day/time of these tasks.
After this meeting, you can share information about this schedule with a simple and free tool: Google Calendar.
Your employees probably all have smartphones so they will have easy access to the shop’s schedule and the tasks they have to do.
This tool has the added advantage of giving the whole team an overview, so that any free time can be used effectively.
That’s why one of our customers, Roots Store, uses it!
In some shops with a smaller team, it’s more common to display a printed schedule on a wall in the shop’s offices.
Other advice about your working hours
As we mentioned in the previous section, optimising free time is a good way to improve the profitability of your shop.
Rather than leaving your employees to be bored in the shop as they wait for the next customer, make sure that they always have tasks to do when they have some free time. This will mean less work for you personally and you won’t have to hire other people to do these tasks!
In terms of management practices, I recommend encouraging your employees to be independent and to take responsibility. This is a great motivator. However, it’s important to understand that encouraging independence doesn’t mean not setting rules or monitoring the work that’s done.
Lastly, your employees are a team of human beings who will work better together if they know and like each other. My last piece of advice is therefore to let your employees take advantage of some downtime to take a break and have a chat; this will encourage good working relations. All within reason, of course!