Retail is Stretching Workers Thin

John Krautzel
Posted by in Retail

Workers in retail often find themselves pressed with additional work during busy holiday and sales periods. The industry as a whole seems to be focused on profits and regularly requires those who work in retail to put in longer hours or forego certain benefits to help maintain profitability. However, stretching workers thin can have ill effects on morale and health, so managers and business leaders should strive to ensure that those who work in retail do not find themselves overworked.

The balance of production versus production capability is a major factor in the retail world. When employees who work in retail are pushed for maximum production, they tire quickly and may not perform to their potential over time. Workers at Walmart and at other organizations find themselves pushed for productivity during the busiest times of the year. During the holiday period, for example, many retail stores make the majority of their annual profits. Retailers looking to maximize profitability for expansion or to maintain good numbers may hire fewer workers to handle the same volume of sales.

Production capability for those who work in retail includes both their health and level of engagement and happiness with their working conditions. Signs that production capability is flagging include customer complaints and obvious behavioral changes in your employees. Retail workers need regular time to rest and recharge, and long hours of overtime can leave them drained and feeling exhausted. This can lead to poor customer service and a bevy of problems that are only tangentially related to the stress of the added workload during busier periods. When exhaustion and stress reach the point that it impacts productivity, sales can flag and customers may be lost due to poor interactions.

Dealing with the issue is rarely simple. Managers and business owners should strive to understand what is causing the imbalance of production and production capability. Employees who are burned out deliver far less than those who are motivated at work. It falls on employers to ensure that retail workers know how their positions impact the company and exactly how important it is to ensure good customer service interactions. Leading by example and avoiding negative talk in the workplace can go a long way towards helping the situation. Regular breaks and a focus on the small successes that drive customer interaction can help repair the damaged morale that those who work in retail may experience during burnout.

Stretching workers thin is a great risk sometimes undertaken by savvy entrepreneurs only for short periods of time. When you balance production capability and production, it becomes far easier to maintain great customer interaction and keep morale high at your retail location. Those who work in retail are less likely to burn out in a positive and supportive environment, and their increased production can have great benefits for the company's bottom line.


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