There probably isn’t a bigger series of paydays to be had for retail companies in the weeks leading up to the major Holidays. The reasons are obvious; consumers need gifts, employees are often more willing to work overtime to make more cash for gifts, food, etc. Of course, with all these benefits, there comes sacrifice; this is leading to public outcry regarding the hours and time spent away from their families during the holidays that employees endure.
The Costs of Holiday Overtime
When you combine reduced prices – via Black Friday and other holiday-related clearance sales – with longer store hours, the cash boon from merchandise that would often go unsold is considerable. In fact, one of the glaring cons of Black Friday is the premise offered by Time Magazine writer Brad Tuttle – which Black Friday may be on an inevitable decline. This is due to the ubiquitous marketing of what was once a single day (after Thanksgiving), now being an event that is spread across several days leading up to thanksgiving, and then resuming almost up until Christmas.
Nonetheless, it still remains cost-effective for companies to limit the number of off-days their employees can take during the holiday season. One possible cost of holiday overtime remains: overhead costs. Keeping your office heated, the power on, accounting for a possible spike in dedicated internet access bandwidth on days that otherwise would have had none and other operating costs should be accounted for.
Until the app revolution completely takes over, and people can buy almost entirely from the comfort of their own homes, businesses of all kind that want to take advantage of the sudden spike in cash influx had better make sure they have the staff on-hand to deal with the literal stampede of eager buyers this time of year.
In the meantime, companies will need to deal with the cons of limiting days off. There isn’t any real reason why employees would get sick at a lower rate than throughout the rest of the year, and larger companies could face unintended problems if they incentivize longer work hours. Case in point: what if employees who are coming down with the cold or flu decide that they just can’t afford to miss out on time-and-a-half? You run the risk of getting more people – both customers and fellow employees – sick and possibly even inviting future lawsuits. The latter is probably on the extreme end of consequences, but it’s still quite possible.
The Biggest Problems with Extended Work Schedules During the Holidays
The biggest retail outlet in the world, Wal-Mart, serves as a prime example of some of the negative issues involved with increased employee workloads and overtime. The wages are so low (in fact, the lowest of any retail outlet in the country), that holiday overtime is simply too attractive an opportunity to pass up for most employees. As the crowds pour into the stores, the company is subjecting their employees to situations for which they aren’t necessarily trained – such as how to deal with impending riots and abrasive customers. Although most of the cons outlined are exclusive to the domain of retail outlets, many of the pros of limiting days off for employees are universal.
Regardless of how you choose to run your business it’s important to look at both the pros and cons to limiting days off during the holidays for your employees. Think through this decision, the operating costs affected and how your employee morale will be affected before making the final decision.