Here are the top three takeaways from the 2022 Landscaping Stress Survey by GoMaterials in collaboration with Synkd (previously Pro Landscaper USA) released late last month.
1: Green Industry Professionals are more stressed in 2022 vs 2021.
Whether it’s managing missed calls, responding to the constant influx of emails, managing supplier communications, or trying to get materials to the job site, there’s too much on everyone’s plate across the industry. To make things worse, the ongoing supply chain issues caused by the plant shortages, labor shortages, and inflation don’t seem to be abating anytime soon. If all this wasn’t enough, every news headline seems to be setting off the alarm bells that a recession is looming. In short, the green industry seems to be going through a remarkably stressful period.
It’s no surprise that the industry feels more stressed this year! More than 75% of those polled reported a mid to high level of stress in 2022 and 79% of respondents said that they are more stressed in 2022 than they were in 2021.
2: Wholesale plant shortages are the biggest causes of stress.
Respondents listed a number of factors contributing to their stress, with wholesale plant shortages in first position. A few respondents chimed in on the decrease in quality and availability of plant materials. What makes the issue particularly challenging is there’s no predictable end to the shortages in sight. In fact, 60% of nurseries estimate that plant shortages will last throughout 2022 as per the Plant Shortage Report released by the GoMaterials team.
And it’s not just landscapers who may be stressed out. Suppliers are also struggling to keep up with landscapers’ demands. One respondent recognized that “there are fewer suppliers and more competitive pressures.” Here are the top reasons for stress listed by the respondents in order of importance:
- Plant material shortages
- Unreasonable customers & suppliers
- Miscommunication with drivers, nurseries, and architects
- Worker & truck driver shortages
- Lack of organization & well-defined processes
3: The weight of tedious tasks is contributing to stress.
It’s evident from the results that the lack of manpower in administrative roles is debilitating for many small and large businesses. It’s forcing existing employees to wear many hats and feel spread thin. Based on survey results, the top routine activities contributing to stress in order of importance are:
- Coordinating & replying to emails
- Buying materials, arranging transport, & project scheduling
- Having to constantly double-check deadlines
- Getting approvals from city inspectors or architects
- Recruiting and training employees
- Bidding or estimating for the job
Needing to double-check deadlines as a cause of stress will likely resonate the most in the industry. Specs, quality, dates and many other details need to constantly be validated for a landscaping operations team.
Decompressing & Prioritizing Health
When asked what they wished was being done to reduce stress at their workplace, respondents chose (multiple responses were allowed)
- 35% Having paid vacation time
- 33% Implementing software or business tools to streamline work
- 30% Having team get-togethers and after-hours beers
- 25% Getting more reliable nursery partners
- 18% Implementing scheduling an landscape management software
- 12% Implementing team training
Many of the respondents offered up tips to fellow Green Industry members. More importantly, respondents suggested not to neglect social activities and time with family. Here are some tips and comments from survey respondents:
- During work, be sure to take regular breaks to eat a healthy lunch and maybe listen to music or a podcast.
- Stress is sometimes a sign that you’re living too much. Getting rid of certain tasks or responsibilities can create space for self-care.
- Take the time to write a letter to someone you admire. As we elevate others, we elevate ourselves.
- Spend time in nature.
- Make time for family fun.
- Dare to say no.
- Change your perspective and allow yourself to accept reality.
Creative thinking and the implementation of new processes are crucial to reducing stress in the workplace. Business owners should lean on their teams for feedback on how to help with stress management. One respondents said it well: “One of the best ways to reduce workplace stress is to create and foster a culture of openness and transparency.”
A total of 219 landscape professionals responded to the 2022 survey. To view the full results, visit https://resources.gomaterials.com/2022-landscaping-stress-report.