I have to say that I'm none too sorry to see the back of April. Apart from the miserable weather, it's been our worst trading month of the year for the second year running. I probably ought to put that statement into some sort of perspective - given we're ranked 39th in the Fast Track 100 and our bean counters will be reading this. It means our monthly turnover was just under the magic one million mark, compared to just over it.
The problem with this time of year is the number of trading days that are cut down by bank holidays and the big chunk of the working population that takes a break while the schools are out. As much as we get a buzz from growing our top line while helping businesses protect their bottom line, there's little point in staffing our London-based 100-seat call centre at times when the UK has collectively shut shop.
So it's quite interesting to read that around two-thirds of small businesses won't be giving staff another day off for this year's extended bank holiday to honour the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Perhaps it's a knee-jerk reaction to last year's royal wedding trading blip, but some employers will force staff to take the extra day off from of their holiday entitlement and others will simply open as usual.
This might be music to the ears of Mervyn King over at the Bank of England (ironic, seeing as it invented 'bank' holidays in the first place) because he's worried about a Jubilee-related fall in output. Look at it this way: it's been estimated that February's leap day gained the aneconomy extra £1.6bn in productivity.
Whether or not, on 5 June, you give your staff another excuse to don their 'Thank you for the day off' T-shirts could all boil down to their employment contracts saying the number of days permitted 'includes' or are 'in addition' to bank holidays. Either way there's an opportunity to capture the hearts and minds of employees - rather than their spleen - with a bit of horse trading.
Balance their needs with yours and face up to the fact that both Euro 2012 next month and the Olympic Games in July will inevitably clash with working hours. As a nation, this summer is all about getting over our malaise and mustering the pride to put the Great back into Britain. If you're prepared to play your part as an employer - by making small compromises - then your business could rediscover its mojo too.
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