Have you considered the mental wellbeing of your fleet drivers lately? If not, you really should do.
Employees suffering from stress are 50% more likely to drive dangerously and be involved in crashes – and over a third of fleet drivers saw stress levels increase during the pandemic.
With the pandemic receding and those stats in mind, we felt it was time to look at supporting the wellbeing of your fleet drivers.
There are many steps you can take to look after your drivers, but the key is thinking about things from every angle. If you manage a fleet, this ten-point plan can help set your fleet’s drivers up for success. And if you’re a driver, it can offer insights into how you can do your bit to manage your physical and mental health amidst a very demanding and often tiring job.
When it comes to health and wellbeing, looking after your drivers means having a personal relationship with them and checking in with them regularly. Having one can help you spot when one of your team is feeling down or acting a little distant. A quick call or face-to-face chat can be the first step to making sure they feel supported, which can be a huge factor in boosting their mental health.
The use of scheduling software means there really should be no need for any driver to be overworked. But with the 'pingdemic' still a going concern and instances of unexpected last-minute absences at an all-time high, fleets’ abilities to plan workloads are being tested. If supporting the wellbeing of your fleet drivers is a major concern (and it should be!), you’ll factor in breaks and downtime between journeys, even if it means adjusting your forecasts. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
According to the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Vans Business Barometer survey, mental health still carries a stigma in the fleet industry for a number of reasons. They include:
Not having the right place to talk about it (21%)
By hosting either compulsory or drop-in sessions about mental health matters, fleet businesses can naturalise the idea that drivers’ mental health is important, encourage them to seek support and tools, and influence them to consider their work-life balance. It’s a huge step to looking after your drivers’ health and wellbeing.
Regular rest improves a driver’s performance behind the wheel, lowers their stress levels, and generally allows them to physically and mentally recharge before a long stint behind the wheel. So as part of your awareness sessions, consider asking your drivers how much sleep they get and getting them to think about being kinder to their body with how much REM sleep they manage. A simple fitness watch can help them track this, but if you want to get more hands-on, sessions with a performance coach could be the ideal way to help them find the balance to free up time for the rest they need.
Mental health and regular rest are two vital parts of the well-being world. Eating well and keeping in good physical shape is also incredibly important. Supporting the wellbeing of your fleet drivers means promoting these vital aspects wherever possible, be it in company-branded posters and digital communications, or by backing it up with workplace benefits offering that includes a wellbeing component.
We mentioned support and tools earlier for a reason. Mental health can be quite an abstract concept (especially if someone has never thought about it like that before), but knowing what number to call or which website to visit is much more tangible. And as your fleet business grows and your focus on wellbeing deepens, the tools and resources you offer are likely to change and expand. Making sure you communicate these resources effectively will go a long way towards looking after your drivers’ health and wellbeing.
Optional resources are one thing, but actual company-funded training courses on managing mental and physical health take it to the next level. Your management team should certainly be the front-runners for this, but your entire staff of drivers could potentially also benefit from it enormously.
The first of our ten points above mentioned checking in with staff regularly – but supporting the wellbeing of your fleet drivers also means talking to your staff about mental health in public forums like team meetings and business updates. On a personal level, and a company-wide one, making the concept of wellbeing a fundamental part of your employee engagement strategy will help your drivers to feel comfortable about coming to you with wellbeing issues, so you can work to resolve them together.
You’ll never know how well you’re doing with your wellbeing awareness work unless you ask. So our final tip to support the wellbeing of your fleet drivers is to ask them to let you know how you’re doing as a management team and a company. To help protect people’s mental health, we’d recommend making this feedback mechanism anonymous, which is also the best way to make sure the feedback you get is authentic and helpful.
The team here at SG Fleet have a wealth of experience as drivers, fleet managers, and in management positions. We’ve seen life from every side of the fleet business, and we’re well placed to offer advice as you roll out your own wellbeing strategy.
Not sure where to start? Call us on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com for a helping hand.