Understanding the Impact of Short Staffing

Whenever a business is short staffed, it adds an extra element of stress and prevents things from running smoothly. And you, as the business owner, are the one who bears the burden.

Perhaps you realize this already – you recognize how often you’re forced to stay late when your assistant repeatedly calls in because their chinchilla is lonely. But a short staff may also impact you in ways you haven’t yet realized, including:

It May Force You to Hire Temporary Help

If you’re forced to hire temporary help to replace a regular employee, there’s a good chance you’ll end up spending more money. Temporary services usually operate at a premium rate: not only are you paying the actual worker, but you’re paying the agency, as well. This can increase the hourly rate drastically: $12/hour suddenly becomes $16.

It May Anger Customers

If your business is customer-centric, a short staff makes it more difficult to keep those customers happy. A restaurant with too few cooks leaves people waiting for their food. A hospital with too few nurses keeps patients in pain. A call center with too few agents increases the waiting times. None of this bodes well for your reputation.

It May Result in a Loss of Quality

With a short staff, the employees available are forced to pick up the extra slack. Even if they’re go-getters, this still leaves more on their plate than usual. The end result is a reduction in quality; your employees have too much to focus on so every task receives a little less attention.

It May Cause Your Employees Stress

Of course, more responsibilities also result in more stress for the staff that’s committed. Increased stress has a way of lowering company morale and making one’s job less enjoyable. Both of these things may make it difficult for you to retain your best workers. Employees who are extraordinarily stressed don’t stay employees for long.

It May Cut Into Your Personal Time

As the business owner, the buck stops with you. This means that a short staff can easily cut into your personal time. Not only does it force you to stay late, come in early, or give up your weekends, but it tends to leave you taking your work home. Whether you do this physically – you balance your books in bed – or emotionally – you obsess about your bottom line while watching a movie – it influences everyday enjoyment.

You know why you hire people…so they’ll work. But, while every business owner secretly craves a staff filled with employees of the month, that’s rarely the case. Some people view their jobs as optional. An attendance policy that encourages workers to get their shift covered helps prevent short staffing and all the hassles described above.

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