Anyone else out there feel like this recovery has caught us on the hop somewhat? Yeah me too. As we were leaving the recession, we were warned that the UK faced years of very slow, snail pace growth. Yet here we are in 2014 already way above pre-recession levels in terms of GDP, as some of us window folk are having our best years for a very long time, if not on record. But are you finding yourselves a bit stressed? A bit frantic? Feel like tearing your hair out some days? Yeah me to. The problem? There’s not enough of us!

Too Much Work, Not Enough Staff

I’ve been tweeting about this for ages. So long that I can’t remember when. I’ve brought it up on DGB a few times now as well. But as each month passes the situation gets worse and report after report only serves to prove right what I’ve been ranting on about for ages. I’m seeing others tweet about similar low staffing issues now as well:

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This account is from a joinery firm, yet their complaints about suppliers, lack of labour and timescales all ring similar with complaints from the window industry. Some might say it’s a nice problem to have, having too much work. But look at the end results if whole industries aren’t prepared. Suppliers struggle due to low staff numbers caused by the recession. Mistakes made at supplier level have bigger consequences further down the chain, ultimately causing hassle for the end user. Stresses at installer level increase because time and money is having to be spent to rectify issues rather than focus on bringing in new business. You see where I’m coming from? The simple fact is if businesses invested in more staff, trained them and used them to help share the quickly increasing workload, then these issues might start to recede.

Immediate Employment Needed…On Good Pay

This issue isn’t going to go away. If you and your business think you can ride these issues out and they will all be ironed out naturally, they won’t. As the economy gets stronger and demand continues to increase, the issues above will increase in line with that. Therefore that is actually going to cost you. So why not use that money to employ and train new member of staff?

They have to be on a good wage though. There’s no point hiring staff on minimum wage in a high pressure position where they could work at McDonalds or stack shelves for better pay and less stress. As an industry we need to look to youth. Get some young blood in, start them off on a wage they’d be prepared to work for. Train them your way, treat them well and you’ll have staff for life. Don’t do this and they’ll leave, landing you back in the same pile of problems you tried to rid yourself of in the first place.

Long Term Problems If Not Tackled

It’s not just me banging on about this now. There have been a number of reports out recently from the construction sector which also point out an acute lack of labour and skills. Their reports highlight this issue as one of the biggest threats to the recovery of that sector, which is a problem as they also predict very strong growth in that sector for a while to come.

I urge all businesses in our industry out there, at all levels, system companies, fabricators, installers and all in between; don’t let this problem fester! Look at your business. Has customer service started to fail? Are staff more stressed or less happy than they were six months ago? Are customer complaints rising? If so, it’s probably because the business has been caught out by the sudden surge in business. But don’t just sit on the issue and discuss what can be done about it. Take action now. The problems caused by the issues mentioned in this post are becoming more acute by the month and could be costing everyone vital pounds.

Is your business struggling to cope under the workload? Is your business actually in the opposite situation? All comments welcome in the section below.