How to cope with the dreaded flu season

- June 29, 2023 2 MIN READ


Winter has landed. And with it comes cold and flu season, increasing employee absences and adding pressure to already struggling businesses, writes Thomas Amos, CEO and co-founder of Sidekicker.

And as most industries are still reeling from talent shortages, the demand for temporary workers continues to grow. With this in mind, it’s vital for businesses to evaluate their requirements and decide on the best approach to incorporate temporary workers into their operations.

When to employ temporary staff

When should business owners consider hiring temporary workers?

Seasonal volatility and periods of peak demand

In the hospitality, entertainment and retail industries, the need for workers often surges during busy seasons. But keeping a large roster of part-time staff for these peak periods can be costly if they’re unrequired for the rest of the year.

A more cost-effective strategy is to hire temporary staff to meet increased demand during high seasons. This allows businesses to scale their teams flexibly in response to the needs of these intensive periods.

The dreaded flu season

Flu season has always been a problem for businesses, with many annual events in the winter months, from Dark Mofo in Hobart to the Winter Night Market in Melbourne. Coupled with COVID, it is creating even more absences.

Periods of frequent staff absences, such as university breaks, also require a solid contingency plan. Employing temporary workers can help cover casual shifts, ensuring reliability and consistency in staffing.

Short-term projects and campaigns

Using temporary staff is particularly effective when specific skills are needed for a limited-duration project. Recruiting permanent employees with specialised skills can be a time-consuming and complex process. Finding the right person may delay project timelines or lead to incomplete campaigns.

By contrast, hiring temporary staff means you can quickly get the exact skills you need, with pre-vetted workers ready to work, reducing onboarding times.

Market expansion and testing

When businesses are exploring growth opportunities or experimenting with a new product or market, outcomes are often uncertain. The new product may not work, or the market may not be ready or large enough.

Adding permanent full-time employees, which increases overhead costs, can be risky. Instead, hiring temporary sales staff, promotional marketers, pickers and packers can provide the necessary workforce without adding undue risk. This approach helps avert potential future redundancies if the new ventures don’t yield the expected results.

Issues with high churn

For businesses that rely on hourly and casual staff, there can be issues with churn and availability. For example, students may graduate and return home overseas or seek a permanent role in a different industry. They may find other jobs that offer them more shifts, different hours or a shorter commute.

With temporary workers, there’s no need to fit in with specific shift preferences. Available people can simply apply for the shifts you need.

There are many other advantages to using contingent workers. They increase diversity and can help energise a business with new ideas. They may have additional skills, such as speaking second languages, which can be very useful for customer-facing roles. There’s also no legal or tax admin to worry about when contracting staff via an agency.

Additionally, some temporary staff may eventually apply for permanent positions. For your business, this means you have tried and tested staff members ready to roll with no recruitment or onboarding costs.

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