Can you Prevent Temporary Warehouse Staff from Reducing Productivity?

December 15, 2023



It is that time of the year. If you are in eCommerce, it is like a military campaign, and the fatigue is now setting in. How are your team doing? Are they performing like a crack squad of special forces or buckling under the strain? Did you get enough temporary staff to make up the numbers and help pick up those orders quickly and efficiently?

The Issue

Temporary staff are saviours at this time of the year; however, if you have a large warehouse and are selling many lines with loads of variations, using temporary staff during this period can have advantages and disadvantages for your warehouse operations. Here are some potential disadvantages:


1)    Training Time: Temporary staff may require additional training, which could affect productivity initially.

2)    Inexperience: Temporary staff might lack the experience of your regular workforce, leading to potential errors or delays.

3)    Lack of Company Knowledge: Temporary staff may not be familiar with your company's specific processes, which could impact efficiency.

4)    Consistency Issues: Temporary staff might not be as committed as full-time employees, leading to issues with consistency and reliability.

5)    Integration Challenges: Integrating temporary staff seamlessly into your existing team can be a challenge, affecting overall team dynamics.


The numbers say that the impact on productivity can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of tasks, the efficiency of the training process, and the adaptability of temporary staff.

However, it's common for businesses to experience a dip in productivity during the initial stages of onboarding temporary workers. As the time of year is so busy and temporary staff can sometimes be a last-minute need, proactive training and effective management may not be as thorough as it was for the full-time permanent team members. This can cause a dip in productivity.  


The Solution

As an eCommerce entrepreneur, you need temporary staff for those hectic periods; how do you combat the dip in productivity? Your Warehouse Management System (WMS) should be able to help.

A good WMS will have an app version that can be used on amobile device such as a mobile phone, handheld scanner, or PDA. This should allow you to create digital pick waves that will not only guide temporary staff to exact stock locations using an efficient route, it will also show pictures of the product that is being picked so that team members unfamiliar with your products can check to ensure they pick the correct items.


What about navigation? Your WMS should have mapped stock locations programmed, and the pickwave will be able to direct the temporary worker in the right direction around the warehouse. If the system works well, a temporary staff member should be able to navigate efficiently and quickly pick orders and pick them correctly after an introductory warehouse orientation session.

In our experience, if the system works, temporary staff should perform well and work alongside the permanent team within five minutes of orientation. That is one of the benefits of an effective WMS.


Warehouse Management is our bread and butter. If you want to know more about avoiding seasonal slumps in productivity and getting the best out of your temporary team, give us a shout. We’re always happy to share our knowledge, and there could be a cuppa in it for you.

Thanks for reading this week's blog. Next week will be the penultimate blog of 2023.




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December 15, 2023

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