On 19 May Prince Harry will marry the American actress Meghan Markle. The press has filled with stories of who is invited and who will wear what, and others are starting to plan celebrations and street parties. Big public events can bring staffing problems for companies, as workers wanting to watch the spectacle overload management with holiday requests or, worse, pull a sickie.
The happy couple has chosen to get married on a Saturday, which will save many firms from being affected, but if yours is one of the many businesses that operate on weekends, you will need to make sure that your operation isn’t hindered by the event. So how can you prevent the couple’s happy day from turning into your nightmare?
Talk to staff ahead of time
Take the time to find out how much you will be affected. Different team members will have their own attitudes to the event, ranging from supreme indifference to patriotic fervour. Knowing who falls where means that you can plan rotas accordingly, or allow employees to trade shifts with each other so that your staffing levels meet your requirements.
Think about flexitime
Some staff may want to watch the service on TV. If your business needs allow it, think about giving them some flexibility with the timing of their shift. Could you allow a longer lunch break, with the time made up either at the end of the shift or on an earlier or later day?
Bring the event to the workplace
If staff does have to work through the wedding when they would rather be watching or celebrating it, think about how you can compromise. Could you have a TV screen in the workplace so that people can keep up-to-date while they work? Perhaps you can arrange your own on-site “street party”, with decorations and food to join in the celebrations.
Turn it to your advantage by involving your customers
Celebrating the royal wedding doesn’t have to be limited to your team. You could use it as a way to engage with customers. Why not tie the event in with special offers, or competitions for customers to take part in?
Like any major event, making sure that the royal wedding doesn’t hurt your business is about planning ahead and working with your team. This approach can also help you to find a positive effect. Take advantage of an opportunity to engage both with your employees and your customers.