Does your business really pick up during the holidays? Eight tips for managing workload

With extra requests for time off, increased shopping and urgent customer service needs, the holiday season can be a busy time of year for any business. But for those seasonal businesses or businesses where sales really pick up towards the end of the year, workload management can be a juggling act of responsibilities.

To help busy businesses better plan their time and improve overall productivity, eight members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share their best advice below. Consider these tips if you and your business are starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the heavy workload of the holiday season.

1. Balance the workload with time to rest and recharge

Businesses around the world have long to-do lists when it comes to preparing for the holiday season, but one thing that can’t be forgotten amid the flurry of activity is managing workloads. Teamwork makes light work, so it’s important to support your team by budgeting their workload wisely and establishing holiday schedule expectations at the start of the season. This can help eliminate burnout while ensuring your company meets its goals on time. Team morale will stay high during this hectic time if everyone knows what is expected of them and gets quality time to relax and recharge – because achieving a happy work-life balance has never been more important. – Renato Agrella, Acerca Consulting

2. Get the whole team on the same page

The holiday season can be a very busy and stressful time for businesses. One of the best ways to handle the increased workload in these times is to get the whole team on the same page. This means setting clear expectations for what each person is responsible for, prioritizing and communicating openly with everyone involved. Additionally, it’s important to build some extra time into your schedules so you’re not completely overwhelmed by deadlines and still have room for flexibility if needed. By implementing these tips, businesses can manage their workload during the holiday season and stay productive throughout the busy months ahead. – Adam Preiser, WPCrafter

3. Outsource what you can

Outsourcing is often the best solution for companies that see an increase in business during the holiday season. There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, it can help free up internal resources. Companies that outsource their operations can focus on their core competence. Secondly, outsourcing can help ensure quality. When operations are managed by a third-party provider, there is usually an expectation of accountability. Finally, outsourcing can give companies access to a larger pool of talent. This is particularly beneficial for companies that do not have the internal resources to handle a larger workload. – Sujay Pawar, CartFlows

4. Automate processes to free up resources

The best thing about running a seasonal business, or one where you can accurately predict fluctuations in demand, is that you can plan for the busy periods. This allows you to automate processes to free up time, people and resources that can then be used to handle the increased demand for your products or services. Consider what can be prepared in the slower months leading up to the holiday season and highlight any inefficiencies in the business that should be addressed before things get too busy. – Diana Goodwin, MarketBox

5. Schedule “Backup Crew”

A key part of managing your workload during the holidays is planning who supports others. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, you may need to call the backup team if it gets really busy. Secondly, people have lives during the holidays too. You will need backup people to handle things when others are going to see the child’s Christmas play, on the way to a family party and attending other things. A master calendar is also important for all these types of notes. It must be on the computer and accessible to everyone in a common area. This improves communication and prevents too many people from taking off at once. An employee who sees when two have already requested an afternoon off knows that they cannot make the same request. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

6. Use trainees for extra help

Announcing trainee programs before the holidays can work. As work soars during the holiday season, you need as many hands as you can to keep the needle moving. Also, you don’t want the veteran players on your team to get involved in administrative work. It is best to utilize their experience and skills for tasks that require strategic input and planning. So it would be great to offer them help for effortless task delegation and management. This can help you keep up with your holiday workload without feeling burnt out. – Stephanie Wells, formidable forms

7. Prioritize bottlenecks

While it’s easy to jump from project to project, tackling one at a time, the biggest opportunities tend to come from helping to alleviate bottlenecks for your team. This ensures a continuous flow of productivity on projects, so that fewer things fall through the cracks. This is especially important for managers and leadership, as this allows the rest of the team to maximize their progress and results. When employees have the approval and resources to complete their tasks, they can easily work through their projects even during busy seasons because there are fewer obstacles to success. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep mattress

8. Use the rest of the year to plan ahead

There are many businesses that thrive in the last quarter of the year, and many that see most of their profits take a hit in these three months as well. As companies follow a cyclical journey, the key is to identify the peaks and valleys and know how to prepare in advance. When the holiday season is at the heart of your business, the rest of the year is not a time to rest, but a time to ensure that the right processes are in place, all resources are allocated correctly, all marketing materials are ready to go to market and that the team yours can handle the workload with ease. The nature of business can be incredibly reactive based on the many variables that exist, but knowing your customers’ buying patterns and habits will help you plan ahead and reduce contingencies. – Riccardo Conte, Virtus Flow

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