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5 Ways to Prepare This Summer for Employees Going Back to School

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back to school

It’s normal for business to shift as the school year approaches, and this transition can affect employee availability and general operations. The academic calendar and breaks from school affect your business and your employees’ lives. So, how do you make their lives easier and maintain your daily operations?

Summer is an important time to prepare your business for the coming changes as some employees take classes in the fall. Don’t wait to plan your accommodations. Here are a few tips for managing back-to-school preparations during the summer:

1. Schedule Around School Hours

It’s a good idea to schedule your business with school hours in mind. As classes are in session, depending on your business, you may have more clients or less. If college students are a large portion of your customer base and they leave town for summer break, you might choose to be open less hours during that time. Then, the opposite is true for the fall when they come back.

It’s important to monitor these trends and adapt your operations. Ensuring business hours meet demand means that you’ll be able to schedule the appropriate number of employees and plan more strategically, even if your employees are in school themselves. You can also make sure these hours work for clients by asking them on social media, which improves brand engagement. Do your best to accommodate everyone’s schedules, and you can make up potential income dips elsewhere.

2. Consider Additional Hires or Shifts

It could be worth hiring additional employees to fill gaps as the availability of summer employees may shift as classes begin. Say that one employee will soon need a certain time frame free from work due to upcoming classes. You could hire a part-time employee to ensure their role is still fulfilled.

In addition to this change, you could also adjust your shift system to offer even more flexibility. Many businesses have a four shift system, with individuals working morning shift, mid-shift, evening, and overnight. To accommodate more workers’ schedules, you could offer additional hours. Maybe it’ll be easier for your new employees to come in with shorter shifts or different start and end times.

3. Stay Up to Date With Your Employees’ Schedules

Your business may be a seasonal one or have different workers during different shifts. In any case, you want to make the transition for incoming employees as smooth as possible. Check in with them as summer progresses, so they can update you with new needs and schedule changes. This also gives you the benefit of alerting customers should business hours need to change as a result.

If you have set up a shared employee shift calendar already, this is the perfect reason to use it. While you have all of the shifts organized on it, your employees can include their timelines right in the application. There won’t need to be any delay in finalizing shifts and operating hours for all to see online.

4. Permit Remote Work, If Possible

For a not-necessarily-in-person business, the remote option can make it much easier for employees to be available, faster. Being a student requires a lot of time dedicated to studying, and it’s typically easiest to do so at home. The less time they need to spend commuting, for instance, the longer they can focus on work before switching gears. They can even use the same devices to switch between these responsibilities, increasing efficiency on both sides.

Allowing remote work can also show your employees and clients how much you care about your personnel. In such cases, the former will feel a lot safer coming to you and therefore have higher morale and bandwidth. And the better the work your employees do, the more satisfied your clients will be.

5. Help Streamline Your Employees’ Workflows

Alongside scheduling around school hours, it can make the work feel more fulfilling if you streamline things for everyone. One way to do this is by planning difficult or high-effort tasks to be done earlier in the shift. When an employee needs to leave, they won’t feel guilty or anxious that important things are being momentarily put aside. Also, if you set up programs to automate little tasks, it can free up time for the important ones.

Instituting a new management system to keep projects on the public radar and up-to-date for those involved also improves workflow. This can eliminate the need for someone to sit down and plan something when they may not have the time. It can also keep everything and everyone organized without much human effort.

The end of summer doesn’t have to be a bad omen for business, if you prepare accordingly. The most important takeaway is to make sure that you’ll have the hands you need when you need them. Take your time and consider your employees’ needs, and you can help make them happen. When the fall comes around, you’ll be ready for anything.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Ways to Make Time for a Summer Vacation

By | Business Tips | No Comments
summer vacation

Summer vacation is approaching, the sun is staying out longer, and you’re itching to take a well-deserved break. But unfortunately, the fact that you’re taking a vacation doesn’t mean that life will pause while you’re gone. You’ll need to make sure that everything you’re involved with can go as smoothly as possible without you.

That will take some doing, but it’s far from impossible. Here are some ways to get ready — both at work and at home — before you head out for summer vacation.

1. Manage Your Project Timelines

The first thing to do is to work with your team to ensure that your projects are on track and will stay on track while you’re gone. Which parts of them are you responsible for, and how can you make sure required tasks get done before you leave (or can wait until you return)?

Have these discussions with your team to keep everyone up to date and take all needs into account. To whom can you most efficiently delegate necessary tasks without exceeding people’s bandwidth?

To keep your office running smoothly, it’s important to communicate and consider the energy demands of everyone’s work when handing off responsibilities. One colleague may have capacity to take on some of your work, while others could be stretched to their limits. It may be more beneficial overall to create a more flexible project timeline than to introduce more pressure.

2. Communicate With Your Team

Coordination, communication, and camaraderie are key to efficient teamwork, so make sure you’ve taken the time to establish these foundations. Make yourself available for team members to come to you at any point to discuss duties they’ll be handling while you’re away. Are there any questions they’re likely to have that you can answer in advance? What concerns do they anticipate, and how can you alleviate them or help them feel better about them?

Great communication also involves sharing any important resources and maintaining an open conversation regarding deliverables and deadlines. If you’re already relying on a robust project management system, you can count on your tech stalwart to keep things humming along in your absence. This centralized platform will make project progress visible to all and ensure the necessary handoffs occur even when you’re not there to oversee them.

3. Designate a Point of Contact

When you’re gone and can’t be reached, there are bumps in the road or questions that need answering. All the advance preparation in the world can’t prevent problems from occasionally cropping up. In case team members have issues they can’t resolve on their own, designate a reliable point of contact who can help people on your behalf. This can be a close co-worker or another experienced employee whom you’ve brought up to speed on your ongoing projects.

The role of a point of contact is to answer questions and fulfill emergency responsibilities in your stead. Their goal should be to ensure people leave you alone during your summer vacation so you can relax.

In the event that you must be reached, your point of contact can be the person — and the only person — to contact you. It’s one thing to hear from your POC; it’s quite another to have a dozen team members peppering you with urgent texts during your trip. By specifying a point person, you’ll keep distractions to a minimum.

4. Tend to Prior Commitments

You likely have time-sensitive responsibilities that can’t be avoided in all areas of your life. For example, you might have a health issue you’d like to see a doctor for or a plumbing issue in your home that needs resolving. Check these things off before your departure to prevent them from occupying your thoughts during your break.

This can be easier said than done, considering you only have so much time and you’re using much of it to get ahead on various work tasks. However, if you embrace some scheduling and prioritization techniques, you’ll be better able to square away your responsibilities at work and home before you head off on your vacation. If you run out of time, plan to reschedule critical meetings or appointments when you get back.

5. Prepare Your Home for Your Absence

So you got that leaky faucet repaired, but that’s not the only way you’ll need to prepare your house for your absence during summer vacation. If you have plants and/or pets, you’ll need to line up someone to care for them when you’re not there. You’ll want to set a vacation hold with the postal service and stop delivery of any papers. Alternatively, you could engage a house-sitter to watch your property and collect your mail.

To ensure you don’t kill your vacation buzz immediately upon return, tidy up before you go so you won’t come back to a dirty house. Turn your thermostat down (or up) to save electricity, and switch your gas water heater to the pilot setting. If you’ll be away for a while and won’t have a house sitter, you might even consider turning off the water during that period.

Ultimately your vacation is about you taking the time that you deserve to refresh and recharge. Taking care of all of the above beforehand serves to remove as many worries from your mind as possible. After all, it won’t feel like a break if you’re dealing with work and home responsibilities the entire time. The more time you devote to preparations beforehand, the more time you’ll have to relax on your trip.

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