Handling Understaffing in the Workplace

Staffing will always pose a challenge when you run a business. For various reasons, you may be understaffed, which can reduce your workforce’s productivity. Knowing how to handle it before it seriously impacts your business is essential.


To avoid understaffing, hiring more employees and retaining them is not always ideal. This too may not offer a proper solution for your problems, and it might cost you even more to hire more employees. 

The key is to find the perfect balance and understand your various needs across every department. To handle understaffing, you need to understand the problems it brings to your company.

Problems with Understaffing

The following are the problems that are caused by understaffing:

Creates a Stressful Workplace

When you are understaffed, you have a lot of work that needs to be picked up by another employee. This might be manageable for a short while. When it comes to the long term, it can cause stress on the employees who are picking up the slack.

When employees are overworked, they inevitably burn out, affecting their mental health. This makes it problematic for them to focus on the work, and they need more time off to recover. This once again makes the workforce understaffed, and the cycle continues.

Increases Employee Turnover

Any workplace that overworks the employees and makes them cover their understaffed workforce is never desirable. This causes the employees to resign from their jobs and look for a job that does not make them overwork.

Employees start looking for jobs with better perks, as well as a company with their staffing needs under control. This can also decrease employee morale and cause an increase in employee turnover.

Reduced Quality

Understaffing forces your employees to work extra hours and handle multiple tasks. This can make it hard for them to focus on each task and reduce the work’s quality.

Since the employees handle many tasks, they are more likely to give room for errors. When a workforce is balanced correctly, each employee has a manageable level of tasks. When the quality is reduced, it puts your business at risk.

Unhappy Customers

There are many benefits of good customer service. When you are understaffed, it is challenging to keep your customer satisfied. When the quality of your product takes a hit, you are putting your customers’ loyalty to the test.

The customer might not react well to the reduction of the quality of your product or services. This can cause them to give negative feedback and, if continued, might stop them from doing business with you.

Increases the Cost

Understaffing increases the cost of your business rather than saving on the cost of new hires. When understaffed, you need to look for alternate ways to sustain the workload. 

Hiring temporary workers for specific projects might cost you more than hiring a full-time employee. Also, when a full-time employee covers the workload, they might need to work extra hours, and as the employer, you are required to compensate for that.

Damages Your Brand

Understaffing damages your business as a whole. You might come across a business opportunity to improve your reputation and help you build your company brand. But, when you are understaffed, there is the possibility that you might not get that opportunity.

In some cases, even if you get the chance, it is hard to give a good result. This will seriously damage your reputation. It is always better to look for ways to increase your workforce and consider taking on opportunities only when you have the right workforce.

Steps to Resolve Understaffing Problem in the Workplace

Understaffing does offer you many problems. But it is also reasonably easy to overcome when you take the right measures. The following steps can help you handle understaffing in your workforce:

Resolve Understaffing in Workplace

1. Assess Your Staffing Requirements

Before you start working on your understaffing problem, you need to understand your staffing needs across all the departments in your company. Only after a thorough analysis can you understand the needs and plan to handle them accordingly.

Make a list of projects or tasks you currently need to tackle. Also, list your employees and determine how much they can handle based on their roles and experience. Then, you can get an idea of the areas you are lacking and try to work with them.

It is better to include your employees in this decision-making process. Your employees may have a better idea of how much they can handle.

2. Make Use of Temporary Staff

When you need an increase in your workforce only for a specific time and do not need them all through the year, the best way to handle it is with temporary staff. 

Based on the nature of your business, you might need the staff only for a limited time. Temporary staff can easily  handle this scenario. You must keep in mind that this is just a temporary solution. If your tasks require the temporary workers to stay in your employment for a long time, they might be costlier than regular full-time employees.

3. Consider Paid Interns

Another alternative for your understaffing problem is to hire interns. 70% of interns are hired at the same company they interned with following their internship. Someone who is starting their career might benefit from your internship program and gain experience working as an intern with your company. 

Since an internship is also a temporary program, it helps you handle your understaffing problem only for a limited time. Remember that it is better to have a paid internship program so that more candidates apply for your company.

4. Make Use of the Right Tools

To handle your hiring needs, you need the proper tools. Your staffing requirements must be met swiftly. Taking time to balance your hiring needs will only prolong understaffing problems. 

Tools, such as an applicant tracking system can help you build a talent pool and manage them, so your hiring needs are satisfied. 

For instance, LogicMelon offers you multiple functionalities that can help you, from creating a job opening to posting it across various channels. LogicMelon extends the help through the entire recruitment process. It is also possible for you to use LogicMelon to help you with pre-screening assessments and onboarding.

To learn more, book a free demo today.

5. Try Outsourcing Tedious Tasks

Outsourcing is an excellent way to handle understaffing. For instance, when you get a task beyond your workforce’s capability, it is better to delegate it for as long as the job requires.

Hiring temporary staff might cost you more, and interns might not have the necessary skills to perform their roles efficiently. Outsourcing these tasks can help you take the load off of your workforce. You can hire freelancers to work on the tedious tasks you might encounter.

6. Work with Recruitment Agencies

Your business might have various hiring needs such as temporary workers, interns, freelancers, full-time employees, and part-time employees. It is good to get the support of a recruitment agency specialising in this.

A recruitment agency can help you look for the various hiring needs and find the most suitable candidate. This can help you find qualified candidates for your open roles.


Understaffing can happen for various reasons. It is necessary to keep track of your employees and the tasks you have in your business. Do not overwork your employees to the point of burnout. It is also necessary to keep your employees motivated during tough times. Look into ways to handle your understaffing problems as quickly as you can. Also, do not forget to appreciate your employees when they manage multiple tasks during tough times.



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Email: sales@logicmelon.com or call LogicMelon (UK) +44 (0) 203 553 3667 (USA) +1 860 269 3089