Surviving summer staffing

‘Tis the season: Time to figure out how to cover your staffing needs as employees take vacation time.

And this could be one of the most challenging summers in recent memory. You’re likely running a leaner workforce than in years past — a good thing for the bottom line, a less-good thing when it comes to covering summer shifts.

A couple of suggestions to  help you through:

  • Outline duties. A written “manual” for key positions will give temporary stand-ins the basics of the job. These guides needn’t be novel-length — you’re just trying to cover the post temporarily, not train a new employee in all the nuances of the position.
  • Take advantage of the absences. Some projects, like remodeling or equipment replacement, are easier and quicker if there are fewer employees in the building.

You may find fewer employees who actually want to take time off this summer than in years past — almost three-quarters of employees in a recent CareerBuilder poll said they couldn’t afford to take a vacation.

That might help your staffing levels, but it’s not necessarily good in the long run, the shrinks say.

Problem is, too much of that nose-to-the-grindstone stuff can lead to burnout. And that can spiral  into decreased motivation,  stress-related health problems, bigger medical  bills and higher claims on your health plan.

So you might want to alert line managers that discouraging employees from taking time off is not a great idea.

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