The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how many people think about work, especially in retail. It made many employees start to consider how much their job cares for them and what they are willing to go through to get a paycheck. Now, during the “Great Resignation,” engaging your employees is more important than ever.
Management must ensure their retail employees are happy, safe, and comfortable while on the job. The five methods discussed below provide a good starting point for how you can do so.
1. Let Them Sit
Most retail employees typically stand on their feet for the majority of their shift. It’s often necessary to stand to assist patrons, but, whenever possible, you should provide your employees with the opportunity to sit. Standing for prolonged periods at work can result in many negative health outcomes, including fatigue, muscle soreness, leg swelling, and an increased chance of lower back pain.
At a very minimum, provide the team with floor mats and shoe inserts, so they’re more comfortable while standing. Your employees will likely appreciate the gesture.
2. Encourage (and Enforce) Multiple Breaks
At a minimum, your employees should have at least two breaks per shift — plus their lunch break — if they are working eight hours. If you can provide additional shorter rest periods throughout the day, then consider doing so.
Employees who work for long periods without a break may not only feel physical pain, but also mental fatigue. The longer they work without stopping, the less productive they’re likely to become. This means the quality of their work, including their ability to provide effective customer service, may decline.
However, with regular breaks, your team members will feel refreshed and ready to work through the remainder of their shift.
3. Offer Opportunites To Eat and Hydrate
You may also see that you have happier and more productive employees if you provide the opportunity for healthy snacking during the day. If management provides nutritious snacks — such as fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, and nuts or trail mix — then it increases the chance that employees will actually eat them.
Your employees should also have the opportunity to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water helps the body to stay hydrated and energized. It also reduces the chance of dehydration, which can make employees feel tired and lead to serious health complications if left unchecked.
To avoid these issues and protect your employees’ health, encourage them to stay hydrated throughout the work day by allowing them to keep a water bottle near them at all times. Additionally, providing fresh fruits or vegetables with high water content can also help with hydration.
4. Provide Paid Time Off
If your company doesn’t already have a benefits program that provides paid time off, then you should consider creating one. When they can’t afford to miss time on their paychecks, many employees will go to work sick. If they do, then they can easily spread their illness to customers as well as their coworkers. That is not good for productivity or employee morale.
By providing paid time off, employees can stay home when they’re sick and focus on getting better. Plus, if your employees can stay home and heal, then they may be less likely to call out as often. They will also appreciate that you care about helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance.
5. Increase Schedule Stability
Because of the ebb and flow of many retail businesses, it’s common for employees to work a different schedule every week. However, providing a set schedule is one of the most effective ways to manage retail staff.
If you can afford to give them a set schedule that stays the same going forward, then you may find that your employees are happier. When people know what days they have off, they can better manage their personal lives, family responsibilities, and time outside of work.
Again, that work-life balance is essential, not only for employee happiness but for their health as well. Failure to have this balance can have physical impacts on employees. Poor work-life balance can result in health issues such as eye and vision problems, heart disease, joint damage, and increased signs of ageing. It can also negatively affect sleep and anxiety levels.
Ask your employees for their ideal schedule and see how it will fit with your business needs. Even if you can’t always accommodate these preferences or use the exact same schedule each week, employees will be grateful that you’re doing what you can.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can help your retail employees to be healthy and happy at work. Implement these minor tweaks today, and you could see major positive changes in your products and services.