The Implications of 24/7 Operations for Smaller Businesses

24/7 Operations are Not for Every Business. Are they for you?

Lot’s of smaller businesses and retail operations ponder longer and longer hours. Eventually they come around to wondering about just staying open all night and never closing.

24/7 operations will work for some businesses in some locations, but not for all of them. Here’s what you need to consider before pulling another all-nighter.

The primary 24/7 operations problem is that income you could make is simply not as much as what it costs to stay open. If the hours aren’t profitable then staying open is probably not your best business plan.

Some businesses will stay open only during the holiday season because they are busy restocking shelves anyway with a variety of other employees. Keeping a few more on is almost just the same.

Other small businesses depend on their proximity to manufacturing centers, interstate highways or airports where round the clock service can give you a significant advantage over shuttered neighbors.

But retailers (mostly) keep doors open first and foremost to make a profit. Some others run round the clock to keep up with far-away customers in changing time zones. This is where shift work is common, important and difficult to keep up with.

Staffing, operations and security costs all benefit from staffing schedules determined by demand at a given location. NimbleSchedule works with operators running multiple locations, often staffed by the same people, and for some very complicated scheduling needs.

We work to help create realistic staffing schedules based on historical sales figures and traffic patterns so that when the store is open, is only when it needs to be.

That can mean 24/7 operations.

But just as often, in looking at those metrics, it can also mean closing up shop for some quiet times when no one is coming in.

Some of those quiet times also lead to re-scheduling deliveries, or other service visits.

Customers numbers, revenue and even video surveillance tapes have all been used to determine if a 24/7 schedule is best for your operation.  Despite the loss of some late night customers, it may actually improve your bottom line to open up early and close when the customers go home. Saving on security staffing and double-teams can be significant.


  • 8-hour shift don’t automatically mesh with a 24/7 operation. Scheduling employees around the clock usually wastes 3 days of work, every week, in downtime and squandered labor costs.
  • Employees may also need HR support during off hours. Don’t leave them high and dry. That can also represent a significant cost in addition to your increased security and staffing.
  • We can also calculate – running forward – all of your operations costs based on projected – and far more complex – scheduling needs.
  • At the same time, we can work with you to simplify those that are needlessly complex, and work with your business to schedule exactly the personnel you need – where you need them.

NimbleSchedule works well with complex, demanding and changing shift schedules and the business that rely on them. If you’re considering a major shift scheduling change – to 24/7 operations – in all or some of your locations – or you’re thinking of simplifying everything, we’ll be happy to discuss the implications.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic - Head of Marketing

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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