How To Take The Stress Out Of Holiday Scheduling in Retail

by Sarah Niderost, 3 minutes read
HOME blog how to take the stress out of holiday scheduling in retail

Creating your team’s schedules is one of the most difficult parts of being a manager in retail — and it’s even more difficult to create them before the holiday season! As you onboard seasonal hires, and get your star players prepped for the busiest time of the year, you want to make sure you can ease as many stressful situations as possible.

Read on to learn ways you can take the stress out of holiday scheduling in retail this year.

Be transparent

Set clear expectations and black-out dates before you make any seasonal schedules. If you’re expecting a product shortage from a Black Friday sale, or an influx of online orders needing to be fulfilled, make sure to let your team know as soon as you do.

The more in the know your employees are, the more they can prepare themselves for their upcoming shifts and plan their holiday celebrations once they get off work.

Balance your team’s workloads

Find your team’s to-do lists and see if there’s any room to distribute any tasks more evenly. You can also complete any simple tasks to free up more of their shift.

You can also team up veteran employees with seasonal staff. This way, your employees can provide any support to any processes that new hires are still learning. It also gives a great opportunity for you to encourage their leadership potential, and more space to learn and grow their career at your store.

Use a helpful scheduling tool

Instead of spending days making sure all of your spreadsheets have all of your team’s shifts accurately made before you print them out, use an automated scheduling app. Using one can turn days of making sure schedules are correctly input into just minutes. And you’ll have more time to focus on seasonal hiring and training to ensure your store is perfectly staffed before the holiday rush.

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Be human

When you first entered the retail industry, you were a customer associate. After some time, you earned and grew into being a supervisor at work. You know what it’s like to work during the holiday season. So put yourself in your employees’ shoes when they’re preparing for the next rush of customers.

While you finish interviewing for seasonal team members, check in with each of your employees and ask them about what they need in order to have a successful holiday working experience. Find the best ways to accommodate them as you schedule them.

The more you listen and support your employees in ways they need to be, the more you can retain them. The more you retain them, the less stress you’ll have hiring new people for the holidays.

Don’t make assumptions

Not everyone wants time off during the season. Some of your team members have big holiday celebrations with family, while others don’t celebrate the holidays and want to work extra shifts. Check in with your employees and see what their availability is for the rest of the year. If you have shifts needing to be covered, allow anyone without holiday plans to take them.

If you notice there are more shifts open than your team can take, you can gauge how much more help you’ll need from seasonal employees.


One of the easiest ways to destress is to treat yourself. And you can do that while treating your team too. Plan a holiday activity for your team before the next rush. Whether you plan a catered festive lunch in the breakroom or give your team gift cards to help with present buying, celebrating with your team is a great way to let your team know you’re grateful for all their resilience this year.

Want to learn more about how you can show your team appreciation for all their hard work? Download a free trial of Deputy and see why smart schedules can be a gift your employees will love.