Trish Barnes on August 6, 2015
How to Minimize Stress When You’re Understaffed With Workers on Vacation
The summer is a time where it’s common for employees to go on vacation so they can get refreshed and rejuvenated. And while it’s nice for workers to get a break and recharge their batteries, it can temporarily result in an understaffed workforce, which can put added stress on everyone else. Here are some ways to minimize stress levels when you’re short-staffed with workers on vacation.
Consider Hiring Temporary Workers
Perhaps the most effective solution is to arrange for temporary employees to fill in the gaps. These days, there are thousands of staffing agencies across the U.S. that specialize in matching businesses with talented temp workers and will work with you to find the ideal solution. Going this route can work great during the summer when you know that you’re going to be understaffed. Staffing agencies are highly flexible, so you should be able to find just the right amount of manpower for your immediate needs and can return to normal once the summer is over.
Cross Train Employees
If possible, it’s smart to train employees to perform tasks outside of their immediate job description so that they’ll be prepared to pick up the slack when you’re lacking manpower. For instance, in a retail setting, you might instruct a sales representative on how to do basic inventory counts and locate products in the storeroom. For a restaurant, you might teach servers how to perform certain prep-cooking duties. While this obviously has limitations and probably won’t work for covering highly skilled positions, it can be effective in many instances and should make things run a bit smoother.
When you’re struggling to keep up with demand, it’s often necessary to concentrate on the most important tasks and let the less important ones fall to the wayside at least for the time being. For example, you might want to put a priority on serving customers and worry about doing paperwork later on. While this isn’t ideal and not something you want to do long-term, it may be the only realistic option for keeping things moving and not overwhelming employees with stress.
Hold Regular Meetings
If you know that you’re going to be short-staffed on a certain day, it’s a good idea to hold a meeting at the beginning of a shift to keep everyone the same page. When it’s crunch time, you need to function as a cohesive unit, so maintaining solid communication is key. Some things you might want to discuss include which staff member(s) won’t be present, which problems you’re likely to encounter, critical tasks that need to be completed and how to respond to stressful situations. This should hopefully keep your employees from panicking and maximize productivity.
Making sure that you’ve got adequate manpower to keep up with demand can seem like a daunting task during the summer with workers on vacation. But by having the right game plan in place, you should be able to reduce your employees’ stress levels and prevent any major issues from arising.