Greater than one-third of Americans will go on an extended vacation this year, according to AAA, and summer is by far the most popular time for workers to use their vacation time.

With missing staff members and a surging economy this summer, your warehouse may end up being understaffed and struggling to meet demands. Trying to manage business demands while still giving your employees their time off is a tricky balance, and if you find yourself understaffed, you need to find a solution.

Consider Efficiency Actions

Before you call in the cavalry, it’s important to make sure you’re doing all you can with the resources at your disposal.

One of the best and most basic ways you can boost efficiency is to simply ask your employees for solutions. If you’re understaffed, your employees are likely feeling stressed and asking them for solutions gives them a sense of control over their situation. Consulting employees is also a good efficiency strategy because they have granular knowledge about all the responsibilities and operations in your warehouse.

It’s also important to stress good communication, even over communication, during times when your warehouse is understaffed. During the rest of the year, you may be worried about annoying clients and employees with too many emails or phone calls. When you’re understaffed, you can throw those concerns out the window. Avoiding miscommunications and getting things right the first time are more important than being seen as a pest.

Being understaffed is also the ideal time to embrace the ‘80/20 rule’ – if you aren’t already. The 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts. Therefore, focusing on your most productive 20 percent can help you stay on top of the most essential tasks, while putting off the less essential ones.

Leverage Internal Labor

If you’re going to be understaffed for a short period, possibly a few times throughout the summer, you might be able to address any unskilled labor needs by pulling over non-warehouse employees. Taking workers from other departments may sound selfish from a manager’s point-of-view, but many employees will appreciate the chance to cross-train and learn new skills or procedures.

Bringing over other employees could also have an added benefit: Innovation. When employees come over from another department, they bring a fresh set of eyes to your warehouse and a different viewpoint on how warehouse operations fit into the bigger picture; both of which can lead to better ways of doing things.

Bring on the Temps

If you’ve tapped out all your in-house solutions and you’re still falling behind, it might be time to hire temporary employees. To make a compelling case to “the powers that be” for hiring temps, you need to identify the benefits of doing so, which likely include minimizing overtime, higher productivity, higher morale, fewer mistakes and higher client satisfaction.


Need help staffing this summer?

At Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, we regularly work with companies to address their temporary labor needs during the summer months. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your organization.

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