Thursday, 24 December 2015

Surviving Christmas in Retail

With long hours, busy days and an endless supply of hectic customers all wanting your attention, working in retail during the festive season can feel like a pretty tough gig. It can be one of the hardest times during which to work, so now we're nearly at the end of the festive period I thought I'd share with you some hints, tips and tricks I've learned working in retail at one of the busiest times of the year. So here's what I've learned over the past couple of months.

1. Don't Panic

Everyone around you is panicking, your boss is stressing out, customers are rushing around like it's their last day on earth, the phones are ringing, that display you filled only ten minutes ago is already nearly empty and the stock room is an urban jungle of crates, boxes and items of stock that don't seem to appear to have a home. It's busy, there's not enough time and your boss has asked you to do another three jobs on top of the eight you already have.
Don't panic. Stop and take a breath. Just because everyone around you is going crazy doesn't mean you have to as well. It's good to get stuck into your work but don't take it too seriously. Work your way through your jobs list calmly, get what you can done but don't freak out about not doing everything. There is always tomorrow and it's not the end of the world if the scarf display doesn't get filled up until the morning. Breathe.

2. Smile

Not just at the customers, at your colleagues too, but most of all smile for yourself. Even if your feeling absolutely bogged down and miserable, stick a smile on your face and be the positive colleague. Before long you will not only have cheered yourself up but most likely cheered someone else up too. Positive thinking is key and if you try you can find fun or at least a joke in almost anything. Focusing on the negatives won't make your day feel any better.

3. Housekeeping

And no I don't mean you should go home and tidy your room - although having a clean and tidy environment at home does help to alleviate stress and boost mood.
That messy stock room that you hate, the one jam packed with crates and boxes of stock, so many you can hardly move? Make that stock room (or your bit of it) your project. Keep it tidy, put things away where they belong. Move things around so they fit better, get rid of any rubbish or unnecessary boxes, they're just taking up space and causing you to be more stressed out as you have less space within which to work. When your stock room is orderly and tidy it will be much quicker and easier to find what you are looking for. Those piles of stock won't seem quite so daunting and it'll feel like a much nicer space to work in and from. Just half an hour every shift can make a lot of difference.

4. Let it out

Your colleagues are all having a good old moan about work? Join in. It's good to let your angst out and these people know exactly how you feel, they understand. Before long you'll probably find you're all laughing about something. It's good to talk and get things off your chest - even if it is just how annoying customers can be!

5. Don't Skip Lunch

It's super busy, you've got so much to do and not enough time to do it in. You think to yourself 'I'll just turn this next bit of stock, then I'll go to lunch' and before you realise it your shattered and it's time to go home. No. Don't do that to yourself. Make time to have a break. That time you get to have a bite to eat, have a cigarette, play on your phone, read a book, whatever it is you do on your break - make sure you do it. That's what keeps you sane on a busy day. That twenty minutes or half hour or however long you get, that is just for you. That's time for you to take a step back from all the crazy and have a breather. That's important, it chills you out and readies you for the second part of your shift. And we've all gotta eat!

6. Leave work at work

You work in retail, your not a lawyer, don't take your work home with you. When your sat in the pub with your friends sipping a nice cold pint don't be thinking about that stock you didn't get to out or that job you've got to do tomorrow. Relax, enjoy your time out of work with your friends. That's you time, don't let work rule it.

7. Treat Yourself

You've worked hard today. You've put up with angry customers, hectic bosses and a stock room that just might be hell itself. So have that glass of wine this evening, eat that extra piece of cheese cake, treat yourself, you deserve it!

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