“Every shop girl knows that the coming Christmas season will mean to her an immense amount of extra work, of nervous strain and exhaustion.” The Survey (American Newspaper) November 1916.

Stress in the retail world at this time of year is nothing new. However, with some strategies in place to cope, you can experience a very rewarding and lucrative time of the year.

Plan ahead

As a retail manager you know what to expect over Christmas and New Year – Increased amounts of customers, staff wanting time off, deliveries taking longer than usual and more than a little madness! It happens every year, so planning is key. Try to stagger staff breaks during the day, and have extra staff on call for unexpected events.  Order goods earlier than absolutely necessary to allow for delay and stay flexible.

staffing issues are just one stressor at christmas
What do you mean, you can’t come in today? Unpredictable staff absences are just one of the causes of stress at this time of year.

Care for your health by being as comfortable as possible

When you are standing for 12 or more hours every day, comfortable shoes become a priority. Invest in breathable (preferably leather) shoes, with proper support for your arches. The way you stand impacts right throughout your body, so a good choice of footwear will save your back and your joints. You don’t want to spend any time over your Christmas break in bed or in pain due to poor footwear!

Keep hydrated during work hours

When you are dehydrated, your blood doesn’t move as fast through your body, leaving you with a fuzzy head and poor coordination – not what you want at work! Carry a water bottle with you, or have one sitting behind the cash register. A water cooler is a good investment for shops – giving all staff no excuse to be dehydrated. Remember, coffee and tea actually increase dehydration – so don’t just rely on them.

Take breaks

Standing and serving customers for hours on end is almost impossible without breaks. Regular breaks, where you have a chance to stretch your limbs, rest your eyes and eat something, will mean each interaction you have with customers over the Christmas break is higher quality. Your concentration will improve and your mood will as well.

Appear Calm (Even if you aren’t feeling calm!)

Remember, you might serve 100 customers a day, but for each one, this is your only chance to make a good impression. There will be difficult customers, but as soon as you finish serving them, forget about them. Breathe deeply, smile and be polite to the next customer, and the next, and the next…….

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