Causes of Workplace Stress for Landscaping and Ideas to Manage It
From unexpected delivery schedules, precarious weather, to quality concerns for plants and trees – landscaping can be a highly stressful job.
Workplace stress has serious consequences for the industry and the people.
The stress organization website estimates that American businesses lose about $ 300 billion every year to stress-related issues.
They are also responsible for almost 60% of the turnover.
But what does the landscaping industry itself think about stress? GoMaterials and ProLandscaper decided to find out with a quick poll in 2021.
Through a series of questions and interviews of an exclusive group of landscaping professionals, the survey explored causes, trends, and possible solutions to reduce workplace stress.
Too Many Jobs & A Chaotic Workflow Causes Stress
Brian McMaster, of McMaster Lawn & Pest Services, sums up the root cause of industry stress by saying “we try to grow our business on the recurring revenues generated from services like fertilization and lawn mowing.
The stress always comes from the landscaping installation jobs.
There are a lot of unexpected pain points and issues that can come up, things you cannot always control.”
The experience of McMaster Pest Services is not an isolated example.
New construction or enhancement jobs tend to involve tighter timelines and a competitive bidding model, which only increases what can go wrong.
The ProLandscaper and GoMaterials survey results reveal the leading causes of stress are excessive work in too little time, and a ‘chaotic work culture’. Other factors are a lack of effective communication and the challenges of growing a business.
Top Stress Drivers for Landscapers
Uncontrollable Chain of Events Adds to the Stress
Labor and plant shortages of 2021 wrecked the predictability for landscaping and left many in the industry with elevated stress levels.
With an average increase of 20% across most markets, plant shortages have made the landscaping supply chain more competitive and reduced the ability to reserve materials ahead of schedule.
This causes last-minute change of plans and a loss of billable hours as the crew waits for the plants to arrive.
As a business that depends upon perishable materials such as plants, weather plays a massive role too.
The Texas Freeze earlier this year, and wildfires in Northern Canada and the West Coast are two catastrophic events that derailed the green industry supply chain.
Being unable to predict what’s coming next can also be a reason for righteous anxiety.
“There’s always something to throw a wrench in your plans, it seems,” adds Brian with a wry smile.
Responses from the 2021 Survey About the ‘Most Stressful Part of the Year’, and the ‘Most Stressful Part of the Day’
Stressbusters for Landscaping
The survey also crowdsourced ways to cope up with workplace stress from industry leaders.
Taking vacations, finding hobbies, and spending time with the family are unsurprisingly one of the most common ways.
Regular exercise and after hour beers with colleagues also came up frequently.
One of the best solutions though has a lot to do with a predictable work schedule. Especially for smaller or one-man teams.
GoMaterials Co-founder and CRO Michael Bellows explains the close relation between creating a nurturing work culture and reducing the workplace stress.
“Creating a clear structure and providing stability to your crew can greatly improve how they feel about working at your landscaping company. Staying back at the end of the day should feel like an exception that gets reciprocated, not an everyday expectation. And that goes even for owners or single-person landscaping teams – you get more done if you aren’t too stressed out all the time,” says Michael.
He says scheduling breaks like
Brace for Impact
It has been a rough couple of years for the landscaping industry, ravaged by uncertainty and unexpected calamities.
The industry has remained resilient though and found innovative ways to cope.
As we look forward to another year, most of us would echo the quote below by 2021 Workplace Stress Survey respondents.
“Last year: Covid. This year: Competitive market with material cost increases and shortages. All working harder than ever but the bottom line looks less than stellar. Goal: Stay afloat long enough to see what challenges next year brings!”