We’ve been both super busy and under­staffed recent­ly. Is there any­thing we can do dur­ing this time to help our employ­ees avoid extra stress or burnout before we can hire more employees?


Yes. Here are a few things you can do to make this time run as smooth­ly and stress-free as possible:

Remove nonessen­tial work duties: For the posi­tions that seem most stretched, make a list of tasks that could be put on hold (or per­haps reas­signed). You can invite input from employ­ees, too, but I’d rec­om­mend acknowl­edg­ing that they’re over­whelmed and say­ing that you’ll do your best to alle­vi­ate some of the pres­sure. Then hold off on nonessen­tial tasks until busi­ness slows down or you’ve increased your headcount.

Allow for flex­i­ble sched­ul­ing: If employ­ees need to work longer hours on some days dur­ing the week, con­sid­er allow­ing them to work few­er hours on oth­er days of the week. Note that some states have dai­ly over­time, spread-of-hours, or split-shift laws.

Bud­get for over­time: Employ­ees may need to work extra hours to keep up with the cur­rent demands of their job, so allow them to work over­time if you (and they) can swing it. If you’re pret­ty sure over­time will be nec­es­sary, inform employ­ees of that ahead of time, so they can plan accordingly.

Ensure all equip­ment is fast and reli­able: It’s impor­tant to iden­ti­fy, trou­bleshoot, and cor­rect any slow or non­work­ing equip­ment issues (such as lap­tops, inter­net hard­ware, cash reg­is­ters, or vehi­cles). If not resolved, these issues can slow down work and add to everyone’s stress.

Look for ways to auto­mate: Con­sid­er whether any of your employ­ees’ man­u­al and time-con­sum­ing tasks could be elim­i­nat­ed or sim­pli­fied with the use of new or dif­fer­ent technology.

Increase safe­ty pro­to­cols: Employ­ee absences relat­ed to COVID have cre­at­ed a sig­nif­i­cant strain for many employ­ers dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. Shoring up your safe­ty pro­to­cols may reduce the risk of COVID-relat­ed absences because of sick­ness or expo­sure. Depend­ing on your cir­cum­stances, exam­ples include improv­ing ven­ti­la­tion, encour­ag­ing or requir­ing vac­ci­na­tion, requir­ing employ­ees to wear masks, and allow­ing employ­ees to work remote­ly when possible.

By Megan Lemire

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on Mineral