Reduced Staffing

John FRANKLIN • 18 January 2021
in community Air Operations

This article about handling reduced staffing levels supports the master article on Resilience that was developed as part of our COVID-19 Safety Issues series. It was developed by a group of industry collaborative experts to support the higher level article - it isn't intended to cover the subject in full but hopefully it provides some additional information that will be useful for you.

The impact of reduced staffing on team dynamics

Many organisations are having to deal with reduced staffing levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be as a result of the financial impact of the pandemic itself but with the health situation so fluid there are situations where some colleagues will need to remain away from their workplace for health reasons or even to support the care of children during lockdown periods. This means that team dynamics will have changed and may continual change. Some specific competences and skills may have been lost from team and that situation could be continually changing and evolving.

Team Dynamics


As for other professionals, the sitiuations for ATCOs may mean that it is more difficult to rely on colleagues, established working practices may have been eroded (also through the reduction in traffic) and team performance cannot be assumed to be the same as it was previously. This might be something particularly important to consider as traffic increases towards the 2021 - all being weel.

For ground handlers 

On the ramp ho previously performed specific tasks during many turnrounds, may have had to perform many different tasks during fewer turnrounds. When traffic levels were low, any issues relating to team dynamic may not have been evident, but as traffic levels increase cooperation and team building becomes important in their ability to handle new growth. As new employees are hired or former employees are re-hired, both training and team building become important.

Some of the more general challenges

The changes to teams, and the consequence of personnel spending time isolating, has also meant that some groups are no longer meeting to discuss how to do a task in a uniform way. In many cases, they cannot meet in person and working collaboratively, while working remotely becomes a new challenge. Organisations are not working as coherently as they were and may need to re-establish collaborative working.

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