Fashion retail has always been stressful, but things are especially bad at the moment. The lasting effects of the pandemic have combined with the cost of living crisis to create an environment in which many colleagues are struggling. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at these factors, and suggest some ways that you can help your team to cope.
Colleagues are struggling
The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on retail colleagues. Many were forced to take on duties far outside the scope of their job descriptions, often in the face of unpleasant customer behaviour.
Unsurprisingly, this has had a lasting effect on mental health. A recent survey by The Retail Trust found that, two and a half years later, many colleagues are still struggling to recover:
- 85% of managers have seen an increase in mental health conditions among their team
- 66% of colleagues feel that they’re not getting the mental health support they need
These effects have been felt by all retail colleagues, but they are particularly acute in the fashion sector. This is a high pressure industry at the best of times, and recent events have only made things worse. Research shows that those working in fashion are 25% more likely to suffer from mental illness.
How did things get so bad?
In order to deal with a mental health crisis, we must first understand its causes. The Retail Trust Survey highlights three main factors behind the recent surge in mental health complaints:
- The pandemic has made it much harder for retailers to retain colleagues. One in five are planning to quit, rising to almost one in three for larger companies. This puts more pressure on remaining colleagues, who are forced to work harder and faster to cover absences.
- Customer abuse has skyrocketed, leaving many colleagues afraid to go to work. 90% of colleagues were verbally abused during the pandemic, and one in ten were physically assaulted. 30% of retailers now identify customer abuse as one of the main causes of poor mental health among colleagues.
- The cost of living crisis has put a new strain on colleagues. Many are taking on extra shifts to make ends meet, leaving them tired and stressed. 55% of managers believe that financial worries are one of the main causes of poor mental health in their team.
We’re here to help
While we can’t bring down energy prices or help you to find new colleagues, we can do our bit to ease the pressure on your team. Our headsets let colleagues communicate instantly from anywhere in store, making life easier and safer for everyone:
- Colleagues can find information without crossing the store. This reduces daily walking distance by up to 1.4km, meaning that colleagues are less likely to run out of steam during a long shift.
- The hands-free design allows colleagues to perform manual tasks while talking. This improves task efficiency by up to 105 minutes a day, helping your team to stay on top of their work when numbers are tight.
- Headsets act as a visible deterrent to abusive customers. They can also be linked to your phone system, allowing colleagues to call the police at the push of a button. Our research shows that colleagues feel 54% safer when working with VoCoVo.
- Headsets can be used to train new hires on the job. This reduces onboarding times, helping you to fill vacancies faster.
Why VoCoVo is the perfect training tool:
The coming months will be tough for fashion colleagues, but we’ll get through it together. If you have any questions about supporting your team with VoCoVo, don’t hesitate to give us a call.