Risks of Being an Understaffed Small Business

Businesses today face many risks. Most businesses have contingency plans in place for many of their risks. However, there is one risk business owners consistently overlook when planning for potential problems, preventative measures, and problem management. That would be the risk of operating while understaffed. These are a few of the most common risks businesses face while working with insufficient staff.


Increased Absenteeism


Many factors contribute to this increase, which only serves to exacerbate the underlying problem of operating understaffed. Stress, caused by employees feeling the pressure of not enough time to do the work on their desks, is a huge factor that leads to an increase in absenteeism. Stress leads to lower health issues, employee burnout, and decreased attention to detail that often leads to injuries as well. Poor health, excess stress, lower employee morale, and injuries on the job all point the way to absenteeism that employers operating at a staff deficit already cannot afford.


Higher Employee Turnover Rates


People want to have jobs they feel happy doing. They want to take pride in their work. They want to believe they’re important to the success of the business. They cannot feel this way when they’re too busy feeling stressed out, overworked, and underappreciated.  Employees in this position for prolonged periods are much more likely to remedy the situation by seeking employment in better circumstances. In fact, it’s estimated that 43 percent of employees leave their company because of a heavy workload.


Increased Risk of Worker Injuries


Understaffed offices often result in employees working longer hours and multitasking. This can turn into physical stress, which can lead to real physical injuries or conditions like carpal tunnel. In the end, this can lead to increased workers’ compensation claims.


More Mistakes


Businesses need a full staff of employees working together in harmony in order to have all the proper checks and balances in place. This system of checks and balances is necessary to avoid costly mistakes in the process. The more stress employees feel, the greater the likelihood of mistakes becomes. Repeated mistakes not only cost businesses money, but they also put customer relationships at risk.


Lower Overall Employee Morale


While morale is also associated with absenteeism, there is more to the morale picture than showing up for work. Poor morale leads to poor performance, contagious bad attitudes, missed deadlines, and terrible customer service. It can cost your business big if left unchecked. The biggest hits companies struggling with low worker morale face is productivity, however. Employees lacking morale aren’t motivated to perform for your company and rarely meet acceptable standards – much less go above and beyond.


Bigger Expenses for the Business


All of these factors, and more, combine to create much bigger expenses for the company. The costs of constantly training new employees, absenteeism, missed deadlines, costly mistakes, poor customer service, and a distinct lack of productivity pile up over time and do more harm for the business than many businesses can recover from. Certainly more financial harm than hiring a proper number of staff members would have caused.


Businesses need to be at their best in order to maintain a competitive edge in today’s economy. To mitigate the risks of an understaffed workplace, implement employee stress management initiatives, like recreational activities and breaks, and be sure to be adequately covered by business insurance in order to minimize losses incurred from being understaffed.