Working in Retail

Service with a smile!

According to government statistics, over 4.6 million people in the UK are employed in the retail sector (source: House of Commons Library Briefing Paper 06186, 21 March 2018). The retail sector can be divided into specialised and non-specialised stores. Non-specialised stores are shops which sell a variety of products, such as supermarkets, convenience shops or department stores.

Imagine if they were all to be off work due to ill health - the shops would have to remain closed. To prevent this from happening, here are a few tips on how to stay as fit as possible – despite having to cater for the needs of diverse customers, irregular or unsociable working hours, exhausting work and being on your feet for hours on end.

Shopping can be a lovely experience, for the customer at least! The shop décor needs to be Inviting and easy on the eye, a lively atmosphere, appropriate background music, perhaps exotic fragrances and a nice chat with the friendly sales assistant. The vital component in all this: healthy sales assistants, who feel at ease and happy in their work - something not to be taken for granted in view of the high workload and the physical exertion demanded by work in retail. Here are some tips for you to help you stay motivated at work.

Keep on top of your stress levels

Imagine the situation - the salesroom is filling up, there’s a long queue at the till, customers are looking agitated, the new stock is piling up in the stockroom and there's still no sign of your work mate. Now it's important to stay cool – for your health's sake. There are many methods for coping with stress. It often helps to just take deep breaths, to think positively and smile (it releases positive hormones), create a timetable, set the priorities and to let off steam with a sport or brisk walk in your lunch or leisure time.

Strengthen your back

Heavy objects often have to be lifted and heaved around the shop when fitting out or re-stocking, or when deliveries arrive. This not only affect the back muscles, but also puts a lot of strain on the spinal column and intervertebral discs.

So, do the sensible thing. Always hold heavy items as close to your body as possible when carrying them as this reduces the weight strain. Always keep your back straight and bend your knees to lift – using your legs rather than your back. What's more always opt to pull or push, rather than carry, if this is practical. Use sack trolleys or ask colleagues to help. Train your back muscles, in order to strengthen the muscles and ligaments of the spinal column and relieve pressure on the intervertebral discs.

Irregular and unsociable working hours

It is particularly important in the retail business to adapt the working hours of the sales staff to the customer volume. However, this often means irregular working hours for the employees. Working shifts at weekends and evenings is the norm in this industry. In order to prevent ill health, statutory health insurers recommend regular training with simple fitness equipment at home as well as jogging or power walking. A low-fat diet rich in protein and carbohydrates also helps keep you fit.

Protect your skin

Many factors, such as handling cardboard, frozen goods or even flowers can be very unkind to the skin of the hands. The frequent use of cleaning products also adds stress the skin. To avoid irritation, eczema and allergic reactions, you should wear protective gloves as practically possible and apply a rich moisturising cream. Many companies have their own skin protection plans.

Lighter legs!

Working in a standing position on a regular basis can cause sore feet, swollen legs, varicose veins, back pain, sore neck and shoulders and so on! A salesperson spends most of their working day on their feet. Keeping your body in an upright position requires surprisingly considerable muscle effort.

The result: one-sided use of joints, ligaments and tendons, additional effort to keeping the blood flowing and the larger muscle groups are constantly under tension and receive little blood. The calf muscle pump that promotes the return of venous blood no longer works efficiently. The veins widen and the venous valves no longer close properly. This results in tired, heavy legs which may lead to the development of varicose veins.

This is why medical compression stockings or socks provide the ideal support during these long working hours. These are medical devices that can be prescribed by a doctor (if you have a medical condition which requires compression) or they can be bought from our web shop. The medical compression garments from medi look like normal socks and stockings and are available in sheer or opaque models as well as in many standard and trend colours.

To keep your veins healthy, it is advisable to take part in sports and organise your working day to make it as varied as possible. Filling shelves and pricing goods, cleaning and office work offer an effective alternative to standing.

And last but not least: invest in comfortable footwear – your feel will love you for it! Watch out for the fit, width adjustment, freedom for the toes, low heels, active breathing upper material and a flexible, non-slip sole.

More information