Understaffing issues in the workplace

Written by louise balle
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Paying for worker wages is one of the largest expenses for many businesses. It is not uncommon for owners and managers to make cuts in this area. However, understaffing at a business can cause major issues for the company. Before you assume that reducing or limiting your workforce will save you money, first understand the potential issues related to understaffing in the workplace.


When a company is understaffed, it does not have enough employees to cover the regular workload and complete job tasks efficiently. In some cases, the lack of workers is because of challenges in finding suitable workers, while in other cases it is intentional due to cost-cutting measures by managers. The burden of understaffing falls mostly on the shoulders of the existing workers, who must take up the slack for the lack of staff.

Worker Exhaustion

When a business is understaffed, workers become exhausted because they must often perform the work of two or more employees. When workers are exhausted, productivity goes down. Their creativity and ingenuity decrease, because they are more concerned with catching up with work than thinking outside of the box. Your customers do not receive the help that they need from workers in a timely fashion, so overall customer service suffers.

Low Morale

Low morale is another common issue associated with understaffing in a business. Over time, as existing employees lose hope that they will get relief from the overly oppressive working conditions, they often become dissatisfied with management and the job in general. Low morale leads workers to take more days off of work, blow off deadlines, show little interest in their jobs and lower overall productivity at the business.


One of the worst possible effects of understaffing in a business is sudden high turnover. Turnover is the decision of viable employees to leave the business for greener pastures. A high turnover rate is an expensive problem for a business. The company must pay to recruit and train new employees. A sudden drop in the existing staff can exacerbate the already existent understaffing problem. In an extreme case, too much turnover in a set period in an already understaffed workplace causes operations to come to a halt.

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