Tackling Driver Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for people around the world; with plenty of uncertainty still surrounding the disease, there’s no surprise that people are struggling to adapt. As a fleet manager, it’s essential that you do what you can to ease some of the stresses that your employees may be feeling within the workplace, as the health and mental well-being of your drivers should be at the top of your priorities.
Find out more about identifying some of the tell-tale signs of stress, whilst also gaining insight on how to best ease some of your employee’s issues during the pandemic and beyond.
Identifying Signs of Stress
Throughout the pandemic you will find that the vast majority of your drivers will show some signs of stress relating to COVID-19 and the extra pressure it has placed on the haulage industry. When looking to identify any signs of stress within your fleet, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will alleviate all problems faced by your employees.
Some of the most common signs of stressed employees in the haulage industry are:
- Lack of concertation
- Consistent absence from work
- Inability to follow simple instructions
- Issues with keeping to delivery deadlines
Here are just a few of the things that could well trigger stress within your fleet of drivers:
- With some workers potentially being furloughed, those who are continuing to work throughout the pandemic can feel extreme levels of pressure, especially when asked to take on other employee’s workloads.
- A feeling of helplessness is one of the most common causes of stress throughout the year and will likely be amplified in times of a pandemic. The smallest of circumstances can lead to a feeling of helplessness, such as problems with a delivery, not managing to keep to arrival deadlines, or being involved in an accident on the road.
- Personal problems are also something that you should keep a close eye on for all of your employees. Any issues at home, whether they are directly as a result of COVID-19 or not, will be amplified by the current restrictions and guidelines in place.
- Being furloughed can cause any employees a significant amount of stress, and this is especially true within the haulage industry. Your employees will likely fear losing their job if business doesn’t pick up soon, so be sure to keep a close eye on any furloughed employees, as well as those who are continuing to work throughout the pandemic.
Whilst this is by no means an exhaustive list, it should give you some insight into some of the feelings that some of your drivers may well be experiencing at the moment. If any of your drivers are struggling in any way with stress, it will inevitably impact their performance in the workplace, so it’s essential you play your role in reducing the stress of your employees in any way you possibly can.
Steps You Should Take For Stressed Employees
In the current climate, it’s essential that you take the time to fully understand any of your drivers’ issues, as there is likely an underlying issue that may need to be resolved.
- First and foremost, if you have not already taken steps to ensure social distancing guidelines are consistently enforced throughout your business, do this as a priority. This will ensure that your employees feel safe at work, whilst also addressing any issues relating to your staff worrying about contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus in the workplace.
- Remember to reassure your drivers and let them know that it’s fine to feel stressed and overwhelmed with the current situation. By opening up the conversation around stress in the workplace, you could well be helping staff members who felt they could not bring up their thoughts and feelings in fear of facing resistance from their boss. It’s essential that you make it clear that the company will support employees in any way possible to help reduce any form of stress that your drivers may be faced with.
- Whilst it may be difficult for you, as the fleet manager, to keep on top of all of your drivers, you should definitely encourage a culture of all members within your fleet maintaining regular lines of communication, and if any drivers seem particularly down at any stage, this is escalated to yourself or another member of the management team. It’s essential that all members of the business feel as though they are pulling through to one unified goal in times such as these.
- Implement a daily or weekly meeting with your staff, via an online conference call or where possible in person (staying in accordance with the governments current advice on social distance). Communication is absolutely vital in times like these, so use these sessions to give an open platform for your staff to voice their concerns or issues.
- Implement flexible working where possible, especially if employees have voiced concerns over being too stressed. If you are consistently having conversations with employees about being too stressed whilst at work, it could be beneficial for both the business and employee to agree to give the member of staff some time off to recover. Whilst it won’t be possible to do this on every occasion, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to ensure your drivers health and wellbeing is being looked after as much as possible.