23 September 2021
How to boost the mental health of your drivers
After what can only be described as an extremely trying 18
months, it is entirely understandable that the events and aftermath of the
COVID-19 pandemic are felt across all industries and employees across the
An exceptionally challenging time for the logistics industry,
this sector is no stranger to the impact of COVID-19 and the unique pressures
placed on the supply chain as a result.
As the vaccination roll-out continues and we witness easing
of travel restrictions, how can fleet managers continue to safeguard their
workforces and boost the mental health of fleet drivers?
COVID-19 and mental health
It has been widely reported that the pandemic has caused,
and continues to cause, a rise
in drivers’ mental health issues.
This is the result of numerous compounded factors. From forced
operational changes and fears of the virus itself, to shared occupancy risks has
led to drivers feeling isolated.
Furthermore, many logistics firms find
themselves under increasing financial pressures, due to additional fleet
vehicles needing to be hired to enable drivers to operate safely in isolation.
Not only this, but since the outbreak of the pandemic, fleet
drivers faced additional challenges, all of which could have had a lasting
impact on their long-term mental health, including:
- Additional work demands and stricter time
- Increased working hours and intense
- Increased isolation
- Reduced contact due to social distancing
- Heavier traffic conditions
With figures revealing ill mental health is costing
employers between £33
billion and £42 billion each year, it is essential that the mental health
of all workforces is placed as a top priority, and addressed to safeguard
health and businesses, both post pandemic and beyond.
How to boost drivers’ mental health
There are several ways that fleet managers can help to boost
the mental health of their drivers, including:
(a) An emphasis on safety
With many still feeling justifiably concerned over the
virus, an emphasis on health and safety considerations is paramount. Not only
does this include regular reviews and replacements of driver’s PPE, but a
continual effort to implement vehicle sanitisation pre and post shift. This
should be commonplace and part of the daily routine when vehicles are shared
across all fleets/logistics companies.
A continued effort to supply drivers with hand sanitiser and
to adopt a policy where masks can be worn without judgement should make drivers
feel safe, in control and looked after. This should have a positive impact on their
emotional and mental wellbeing.
It is an industry wide expectation that routine vehicle
sanitisation will continue post pandemic.
(b) Regular team meetings and check-ins
The pandemic has resulted in all industries being forced to
adapt, think on their feet, and come up with ways to keep in touch with
workforces, sometimes located up and down the country.
Having regular team check-ins is vital. Not only to help
remote staff feel part of the company, but to engage in discussion, feel less
isolated and to have contact with colleagues.
Consider hosting informal group
discussions that focus on a specific safety issue or topic, ensure regular 1-1
meetings are booked in the diary, or consider a face to face meet up with teams
at a suitable and safe location.
(c) Embracing digital technology
Fleet managers can help to boost the mental health of
drivers by continuing to embrace digital technology and all its many capabilities.
The pandemic has proven the success of virtual meetings using platforms such as
Teams, Zoom, Google Hangout and Slack.
Embracing digital technology across your fleet will facilitate
more effective, productive, and constructive relationships with your drivers.
(d) Effective systems
Ensuring your fleet drivers are armed with the right systems
and tools to give them the best chance of performing their duties successfully is
key in helping to support the morale and mental health of your drivers.
This is where systems like TouchStar’s Electronic
Proof of Delivery (EPOD) provide a digital solution across all areas of
logistical operations, from route optimisation to job scheduling and fleet
maintenance. This system enables businesses to help serve customers in a more
efficient way and drivers are armed with the right tools to perform their
duties to the highest standard.
It will be a long time before COVID-19 and its impact
becomes a distant memory. In the meantime, it is the responsibility of all employers
to keep watchful eyes on their staff, encourage a transparent and open culture
where mental health can be discussed, and support one another as much as
There are several mental health organisations that are
accessible if you feel you need to talk to someone and gain support:
MentalHealth at Work: Providing support and free resources for mental health at
work is at the heart of this platform.
AnxietyUK: Anxiety UK have a whole host of free anxiety resources that can help
you cope with all different levels of stress and anxiety.
Mental Health UK: Mental Health UK provides advice, information, and support for those
affected by mental health problems.
NHS: Here you’ll
find information about mental health conditions, advice, self-help resources,
Mind: This charity also offers lots of free Mental health at work commitment guides
for employers that have been designed to support organisations requiring mental
Find out more today
Support your drivers with help from our EPOD systems, a scalable solution designed for any
business, from SMEs through to larger enterprises.
Streamline your business operations, improve workflows and
make significant efficiency savings all with the help of our dedicated sales
and support team.
Find out more about TouchStar’s EPOD systems by getting in touch with us today.