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How to Keep Business Running Smoothly When You Are Short Staffed

The post-COVID reopening of the economy has led to a new epidemic: short staffed businesses and overworked employees. A general labor shortage and the spread of Omicron has forced many companies to operate with fewer and fewer staff members. How can you keep your business running smoothly when you don’t have the workers you need?

It’s a problem shared with some of the world’s top companies. Household names like McDonald’s and Starbucks have been forced to limit store hours to deal with a lack of adequate staffing. Meanwhile, the Great Resignation has led to a major labor shift, one that could create pockets of staffing shortages even after Omicron fades.

Given these dynamics, you should expect to hit staffing shortages at some time in the near future.

Here are some tips to keep your business running smoothly while short staffed:


With less capacity, you’ll get less done. It’s a simple math equation. As a result, your first task should be to separate the truly essential tasks from the ones that can wait until you have additional help. Triage your pending deadlines and focus on the most important goals.

Have Managers Get Involved

Ideally, the leaders at your company will spend their time on high-value planning and long-term development. However, when short staffed, it’s time for them to get their hands dirty. Move your managers onto the front lines to fill some of the gaps.

Identify Your Top Performers

During times of pressure, you need your best workers to shine even more than usual. Your top performers will provide the foundation of your crisis response. Identify the workers you can count on most and empower them to get as much done as possible.

Maintain Strong Communication

You and your team are in this together. The firm’s staffing limitations impact everyone, meaning you should encourage an ongoing dialog about the challenges faced and potential solutions.

Through a productive communication program, you can provide necessary feedback to your workers, letting them improve over time. At the same time, you can gather ideas from them, further enhancing your ability to overcome the crisis. Meanwhile, the very act of communication can help boost spirits and improve morale.

Keep Your Eyes on the Long Term

As you look for short-term output, don’t forget your long-term goals. It’s easy to overburden your team, leading to worries about burnout and higher turnover. Monitor workloads and create sustainable objectives for your staff.

Look to Improve Productivity

Dealing with fewer employees than you’re used to? In that case, try to do more with less. Improved productivity can cut the number of workers you need to achieve your goals.

Here are a few ways to boost productivity:

  • Improve your process
  • Get rid of waste
  • Consider a tech upgrade

Hire Temp Staffing

Sometimes you can’t get by with your reduced staffing levels. However, the process of hiring a full-time employee would take too long. At the same time, bringing in a new employee might not make sense for the situation — if you are simply waiting for the latest COVID wave to pass, your staffing levels might normalize quickly.

In these situations, temp staffing makes sense. You get an injection of help for just as long as you need it. The fresh workers will get you through the rough patch, without requiring a commitment on your part.

Need Help Hiring Top Employees? Elby Professional Recruitment Can Help!

Interested in bulking up your team during a period of short staffing? A top recruiter, like Elby Professional Recruitment, can help. You’ll get the skilled assistance you need to weather the crisis.

Contact Elby today to find the talent you need.