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Improve business productivity over public holidays

Mar 22 2016 17:43

Cape Town - For business owners the annual Easter-period and its string of back-to-back public holidays can present sleepless nights due to associated business interruption and the significant impact this time off can have on turnover.

Christo Botes, executive director of Business Partners, says this time of year can be a nightmare for any business, as various aspects of the company are affected by intermittent breaks in trade.

Botes explains that the South African economy is already vulnerable, with the volatile Rand and uncertainty presented by the drought impacting business confidence levels. “Add to this a number of public holidays which have the potential to disrupt the usual flow of productivity and business owners could find their turnover impacted.

“Apart from output being impacted by staff taking prolonged periods of leave, businesses may also be impacted as their key customers, and revenue, are also opting to go on holiday and spending their money elsewhere.”

He says, however, that it isn’t all doom and gloom and that there are a number of pro-active steps that business owners can take to ensure that their business’ productivity does not waver during these ‘holiday’ seasons.

These steps are:

Be strategic about staff leave

If the business is quiet over the public holiday period, then allowing staff leave may be beneficial and increase productivity in the long term. However, if business tends to peak over mini-holiday seasons, leave should be  approved sparingly, taking  into account the impact that fewer staff on duty may have on the business’ bottom line.

Plan ahead and prioritise

As most, if not all of South Africa’s public holidays are on dates every year, there is no excuse for poor planning on the part of the business owner. Plan ahead and prioritise work schedules in advance to ensure that important jobs are completed ahead of public holidays. Plan for less urgent, timeous work to continue over the mini-holiday season.

Get creative

Depending on the business, there may be ways that entrepreneurs can capitalise on commemorative days. Creatively look at each public holiday throughout the year, planning how the business can leverage off the specific public holiday, perhaps through a special offering or competitive trading hours.

Increase personal productivity

Business owners should review ways in which they can increase their own, personal productivity during periods of back-to-back public holidays. By assessing how they can incorporate  good habits to their daily routine, such as waking up earlier, holding less and/or shorter meetings, and prioritising important work , business owners can ensure that they utilise their work hours as efficiently as possible.

“Such public holiday periods needn’t hamper an entrepreneurs’ ability to succeed, and can present the opportunity for much needed rest for business owners. When planned appropriately and effectively, these mini-holiday seasons can work to a business’ favour, adding value instead of woe,” concluded Botes.

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