You run a tight ship with your business, and that’s commendable. But is it possible to stretch resources too thinly? How tight is too tight when it comes to staying within budget? If your staff feels overworked and stressed and has to cope with increased capacity, it may be time to rethink your approach.
Taking on more staff creates great opportunities and lightens the load, but it can also be a risky and expensive process. In a small business, you can’t afford to hire the wrong person. So it’s understandable if you’ve felt reluctant to increase headcount.
But having too few people is equally risky. If staff get overworked, performance and productivity will suffer. Even if you’re paying overtime, research shows that overwork leads to decreased total output. It’s also linked to higher absenteeism and increased staff turnover. This could cost more than hiring someone in the first place.
So how can you hire extra staff in a safe and sustainable way?
1. Part-time Workers
Part-timers are one option. Many people, particularly parents returning to work, look for part-time opportunities. This may mean three days a week, or working shorter days, such as 10-to-four rather than nine-to-five, to accommodate the school run. Having part-time staff gives you flexibility, as they may be able to work extra hours from time to time, or even join the ranks full-time as your business grows.
2. Be Flexible
The amount of people preferring to work remotely is increasing. This can have many advantages, including allowing you to choose from a wider pool of people and saving the cost of extra office space and equipment, since many remote workers provide their own. Depending on the nature of the work, you may not need someone to be physically present in your office. New staff may even be prepared to negotiate a lower salary if they can save the time and cost of commuting.
You can hire all kinds of skills on demand online – from secretarial and admin support to marketing and accounting – as you need. These can be ongoing arrangements or one-offs, just as you need. It means you can access highly skilled professionals at a much lower cost than taking on someone permanently.
4. Consider Contractors
If you have an increased workload for a temporary project, such as the lead-up to Christmas, or you want to overhaul your IT systems, consider hiring temporary staff. That way you won’t end up with too many people once things settle down again.
Managing the pay, super and taxes for different workers may seem challenging. But if you use accounting software with payroll features, it’s very easy.
The benefits of hiring new people extend beyond just getting extra work hours. Fresh minds bring fresh ideas, and can re-energise existing staff. The flip side of overworked, miserable staff is happy staff. This means higher productivity, better performance and fewer sick days. Companies with happy staff outperform their competition by 20% and produce 37% greater sales, according to research by SnackNation. This could more than offset the cost of hiring extra manpower.