Who’s running the office while you’re at home eating Christmas dinner? Are the lights turned off? Is anyone answering the phone?
Over the last few years, many businesses have been confident that shutting up shop for the Christmas period won’t have a negative impact on numbers. With markets having been slower it was a cheaper option to close rather than invest in temporary cover for the holiday season. However things are changing.
Over the course of this year we have seen a steady increase in the need for short term cover across the support functions. This holiday period, we are already finding that clients are coming forward and requesting cover for the week before Christmas, during the Christmas week and the New Year; this on top of the normal Christmas party cover. With an upturn in the market, our clients are feeling that there is a greater cost in potential lost revenue from not opening over Christmas, than the expense of paying for cover to keep the business ticking over.
The main upturn has been seen in the secretarial and junior finance functions, where having phones answered and accounts managed in advance of year end is a key opportunity for clients. In secretarial and business support we have seen a 50% increase in bookings and as a result the available candidate pool for this period is shrinking. This is resulting in an increase in cost for temporary hires. Clients are also booking people earlier so they can secure their preferred candidate; often someone who has worked there previously or who will align with workplace values.
So if you are looking for temp cover for the Christmas period, here are our top tips for what you need to do:
- Get in there early – Start booking cover now so you can be sure that you have the right person and avoid any last minute scrambles before you take time off.
- Over Cover – there is no point in having one person trying to do it all. Business operations may suffer and you will only come back to more work in January.
- Pay a fair wage – Getting seasonal cover on the cheap will often mean you risk losing that temp to a higher late bidder. Think about what you would look to pay one of your permanent staff if asking them to cover and put this to your agency as a level of pay for a temp worker.
- Choose experience – always choose experience over price; a highly experienced professional temp is the right solution for holiday cover. You need someone who can hit the ground running, can deal will all day-to-day matters and won’t be calling you every hour during your holiday.
Remember, Christmas is a time you can make money as well as celebrate with the family. Make sure you are ahead of the curve and competing for the end of year trade.
If you need further help and advice on how best to cover the office during the holiday period please contact Sarah Austin on SarahAustin@pagepersonnel.co.uk or 0207 645 1414