Effectively Manage Being Overstaffed and Understaffed

Overstaffing is a problem for managers. If you have too many people to do the available work, you are spending too much for the productivity you have. Left unchecked, it can drain business cash flow and even lead to bankruptcy. 

But understaffing can also be a challenge. If you’re understaffed, you have too few people to do the work. You run a significant risk of making customers dissatisfied with your turnaround time and ability to execute. 

These two problems can cause both plague seasonal businesses and companies with peak demand periods. But the challenges of overstaffing and understaffing may also be especially pressing to even more companies during the coronavirus crisis that began in March 2020.  

During the coronavirus crisis, many organizations shut due to stay-at-home orders intended to contain and minimize the virus’s spread. As a result, many businesses had to let people go. But some businesses, such as those in home deliveries or healthcare, saw demand soar. Home delivery has boomed because people sheltering in place want delivery. Healthcare across all areas saw robust demand due to the effects of the virus itself. 

The coronavirus issue may continue once stay-at-home orders are rescinded, and businesses need to staff up or down again.  

How can managers be prepared for both options? What if they are overstaffed one day, and then don’t have enough people another day? Here are three ways to handle these challenges. 


Keep track of your needs.

If overstaffing and understaffing are chronickeep track of peak and slack periods. When do you start needing people? When does demand slow? Once you know, you will be far more able to staff appropriately. 

Start the hiring process several months before you need people so that you can make the right hiring decisions. Handle the downsizing professionally and respectfully for your employees. 


Turn to temporary hiring.

Temporary workers can pose ideal solutions for businesses with understaffing/overstaffing challenges. For understaffing, if you work with a temporary staffing agency, they can handle the hiring process rapidly and onboard quickly.  

Similarly, temporary agencies and employees understand that you may have to cut back quickly. You can downsize temporary workers within a day, eliminating cash flow issues. 

In addition, temporary solutions give you a chance to see the employees in action. If you encounter particularly good workers, you can offer them permanent roles if you wish, but there’s no obligation to do so. 


Keep in touch with top employees.

If you’ve had to let top-notch employees go due to overstaffing, keep in touch with them! Social media, like LinkedIn, makes this particularly easy. 

Then, when it’s time to ramp up again, get in touch to ask if they’d like their former positions back. If they are already employed, ask if they have friends or family members interested in the position. 


Partner with a Staffing Agency!

At Expert Staffing, we know exactly what it takes to meet your temporary and other staffing needs. We’re happy to begin working with you to find a strategy that works! To learn more about talented part-time, full-time, and temporary job seekers in your area, contact us today.

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