For many South Africans, public holidays present an opportunistic, and much welcomed mini-holiday. However 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.
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.
Botes lists these steps below:
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1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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,” concludes Botes.