How to Improve The Health and Wellness Of Your Retail Employees
Working on the shop floor shouldn’t be damaging to your employees’ mental and physical wellbeing
When you initially think about the kind of occupations that could pose a threat to an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing, the retail sector is probably one of the last industries you’d consider. That’s because many people don’t realize how challenging the fast-paced environment of retail can be. The seasonality of the retail industry means that there are plenty of peaks and troughs, whether it’s Christmas, Black Friday, Easter or the January sales.
Over the years, studies have indicated that demotivated, unhappy retail employees will have a negative impact on any retailer’s bottom line. It might be several years ago, but Gallup conducted a poll of US retailers back in 2008 and ascertained that content and motivated staff earned an additional $21 per square foot on average, equating to an additional $32 million in revenue for the average chain.
The equation that says happy, healthy staff makes for profitable retail outlets is just as relevant today as it was in 2008. It doesn’t matter whether you’re based in a small town or a big city, the tangible benefits of employee wellbeing remain, including higher talent retention, reduced days of sick leave and improved day-to-day productivity. It’s something that even cities with the biggest tourist footfall are investing time and energy in, creating company cultures that improve brand reputations and profits simultaneously.
Traditionally, many people would associate Las Vegas with casino games like poker and blackjack. Although ‘Sin City’ is still considered a dream destination for poker players to visit, much of the focus on the Las Vegas Strip has shifted to retail and entertainment. Many casino resorts on the strip now boast their very own shopping malls. The Venetian is a prime example of how it has built wellness into its company culture, with wellness initiatives designed to work on employees’ mental, physical and environmental health. The latter is particularly important given that staff tend to work inside with little natural light each day.
Here are four wellness initiatives you may consider adopting.
1. Provide Attractive Financial Packages
Of course, money isn’t the silver bullet for all employees, but a generous financial package certainly won’t make your staff’s mental wellbeing worse. Those retailers that commit to competitive wage structures, incentivized bonuses, profit-sharing and private pension schemes demonstrate that they genuinely care about their staff, helping them feel valued and enhancing their productivity. After all, happy staff on the shop floor can only be good for the perception of your brand.
2. Flexible Working Opportunities
Another effective way to manage the stress and provide a valuable work-life balance for employees is to offer flexible working hours. With retailers, it’s very common for employees to be needed through the weekends as well as Monday to Friday. Flexible working patterns that give staff a fair break during the week in exchange for working weekend hours can prevent burnout which occurs from unrelenting workplace stress. Flexible working can also help improve talent retention, particularly among those who go on maternity leave and are more likely to return to an employer that allows them to fit working hours around their new-look lives.
3. Maintain Comfortable Working Environments
Retailers should also look to ensure their shop floors are comfortable and healthy. There are few other industries quite like retail in that employees will be standing on their feet for several hours on end. It can lead to physical problems like back strain, joint damage and even varicose veins. Give staff adequate furniture to take the weight off their feet during the day or, at the very least, provide cushioned flooring to help take the strain.
4. Open Lines of Communication Between Management and Staff
The difficulty for any business owner is that each employee on their books has a different outlook or personality. That’s why each employee reacts differently when it comes to working in highly pressurized retail scenarios. Some people thrive on stress and pressure, while others crumble. As 94% of respondents to the Wrike Stress and Productivity Survey said they encountered workplace stress in one form or another, retailers need to do more to listen and talk to their staff. Implement new ways to allow employees to manage their stress levels, such as relaxation or ‘chill out’ rooms in between busy periods of the day.
Jelien Moerman is a content marketing professional at Vime Digital, an international media agency based in Barcelona. Previously, Jelien worked as a project coordinator for Transavia, one of the major Dutch airline companies. She graduated from Artevelde University College, Belgium, with a degree in Business Communication.
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