Should you change your business hours during the summer? Well, the answer depends on your location and your type of business. Some reasons to change your business hours include:
- Less demand. Keep track of customer demand and traffic. Is your phone ringing less or is your store practically deserted at some times of the day (or certain days of the week)? If so, consider adjusting your hours to when most people want to shop, visit or buy. For best results, make sure regular customers or clients can get in touch with you when you’re closed, whether by email, social media or phone.
- More demand. Conversely, summer months might be the busiest for your business and employees (especially if they’re students) may want to make extra money by working longer hours. If demand warrants it, consider staying open later or opening earlier in the day to accommodate the additional traffic.
- Longer daylight hours. People tend to eat, run errands and shop later in the summer than in the winter, so you may want to stay open later.
- Saving on utilities. Cutting hours in the summer or cutting the work week to four 10-hour days can allow you to close your business for one day and save on utilities such as air conditioning.
- Employee vacations. Since so many employees want to get away in the summer, cutting a day out of the work week could make scheduling vacations a lot easier.
What are the pros and cons of changing your business hours in the summer? Some studies show making employees work four 10-hour days actually increases stress levels, so productivity goes down. On the other hand, offering telecommuting as a flexible work option has been shown to increase productivity. Companies that have had success with summer hours point to an increase in employee contentment.
Here are some ways to make summer hours work for your business:
- Set core hours during which all or a certain number of employees must work each day. For example, your core hours might be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Devise a vacation schedule early on so you can make sure you’re covered when you need to be.
- Make sure customers are warned in advance that you are adjusting your hours. Post the new hours prominently on your social media sites, your website and in the windows of your store.
- Make sure your contact information is easily available for desperate customers who need to reach you; share it in the same places as above.
- Energize employees and attract customers by planning a summer kickoff party to celebrate the summer months and to remind everyone of the new store hours.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.