Lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease across the UK and there’s a sense of hope in the spring air as life slowly starts to take on a more familiar shape.
For businesses across all sectors the last 12 months have been a whirlwind, turning the world as we know it on its head. Countless businesses across all sectors have been forced to re-evaluate how they operate, to pivot where necessary and to adapt to changing consumer needs and wants - with many turning to tech and digital solutions to make this happen.
Rather than revert back to the way things were, now is the time for savvy business leaders to double-down on technology and digitalisation to guide their businesses into the future.
Peaks and troughs in customer demand, based on variables out of everyone’s control, mean there’s no trend to draw from when it comes to planning necessary staff cover.
The Office for National Statistics reported that on Saturday 17 April 2021, estimates for UK seated diner reservations were at just 60% of the level seen on the equivalent Saturday of 2019. This was despite it being the first weekend since November 2020 that pubs and restaurants could open for outdoor service. This fluctuation in footfall in the first week alone, without even considering other factors such as unpredictable weather, shows what a logistical challenge managers face when it comes to having the right staffing levels.
Tech can greatly benefit business leaders here by more accurately forecasting demand based on real-time factors and data - making workforce planning simple and efficient.
Whether it’s with employees or customers, the last year has shown how crucial fast, efficient and effective communication is. With the excitement of reopening - especially in sectors like hospitality and retail - there’s the potential for staff to be inadvertently pulled in all directions, with little communication from their line managers and short notice of working hours.
In fact, a recent study by Living Wage cited that among the 59% of workers whose job involves variable hours or shift work, 62% reported having less than a week's notice of their work schedules. At the extreme, 12% of this group – amounting to 7% all working adults – had less than 24 hours notice. Tech solutions like AI-powered workforce management software can easily solve this problem thanks to more efficient and intuitive scheduling, and better communications with staff.
A people-first approach pays, and tech is a huge factor in facilitating this. A happy and engaged workforce makes for a more efficient and productive one. It helps reduce staff headcount and absenteeism while at the same time boosting sales and giving employees an improved quality of life. From getting instant feedback through pulse surveys to giving your employees the option to choose when they work, tech solutions will skyrocket your employee engagement.
Talk of investment at a time of uncertainty can be a frightening proposition. To help allay these fears, we’ve launched our new report Benefit or Burden? How Technology Is Inspiring Positive Change.
The report highlights how staff turnover can be costly, to the tune of £15,334 per replaced employee. It also covers how inefficient scheduling could mean a business loses 40% of its annual income – due to over and understaffing and lost revenue plus a handy checklist for how to approach finding the right tech partner.
What’s clear is businesses who invest in technology will be the ones who move from surviving to thriving.