Tip #1: Helping drivers cope with stress and fear
Just a few weeks ago, few of us would have understood terms such as “shelter in place” or “maintain social distance”. The rapid escalation of the health crisis and the lack of visibility as to when things will return back to normal leave many fearful and anxious. This fear can impact mental and physical health and erode morale.
Stress and fear can be exacerbated for drivers delivering critical goods and services. They are traveling alone into customer environments where they have little or no knowledge of what mitigation efforts have been taken by the client.
What can you do?
Managers are used to checking on drivers during the workday to verify what they are doing. In times like this, it is more important to check in with your drivers to find out how they are doing.
Put the clipboard down, and listen to what they have to say. Be empathetic and put yourself in their position. Let them know they are not alone, you are listening and care about them. Make this check in part of your daily routine; it will go a long way in reducing driver concerns and stress. One Lytx client shared with me that they have made it a practice during these times to check in with every driver each morning and again later in the day, not to find out what they are doing, but to see how he or she is doing.
Tip #2: What Took so Long? Recognising the Critical Role of the Driver
It is easy to take things for granted. We expect clean water to come out of the faucet when we turn it on and lights to come on when we flip the switch. We expect the shelves to be fully stocked when we go to the supermarket.
As I walked the aisles of my local grocer a few weeks ago, I had a growing sense of panic as I looked at empty shelves. Fresh produce was limited and canned goods were picked clean. All that was left in the frozen foods section were two packages of kale with edamame in buttery sauce. Apparently, not even a pandemic could drive the masses to eat that!
Most disastrous of all was the paper goods aisle. No paper plates, serviettes, or paper towels. Worse yet, still no toilet paper! The things we took for granted have become precious.
It is unfortunate that it has taken a crisis for people to recognise the essential role drivers play in supplying us with the critical goods we need. Now there are daily news reports about how our heroes on the road continue to deliver the supplies we need despite the risks to their own health. This recognition is well deserved and long overdue. Drivers have always been the silent heroes ensuring we have what we need to live the lifestyles we desire. What took so long?
Here is my tip of the week: If you see a lorry on the road, give the driver a thumbs up. Next time a lorry is trying to merge into your lane, go ahead and back off to let them in. Remember, they may be on their way to stocking the shelves at your supermarket.
Tip #3: Sanitizing the Cabs
The World Health Organization (WHO) believes the COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through person-to-person contact and through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Additionally, it is believed that COVID-19 can be contracted by touching a surface or object then touching your mouth or nose. Current information suggests the virus may remain viable for hours or even days depending upon the surface. In general, the less porous the surface, the longer the virus can survive.
This unfortunate news means that most surfaces on the cab of a vehicle are a potential source of the virus. To protect against this risk, many fleets require a sanitising wipe down of the cab and other high touch areas before and after each shift. This is a mundane task often done by people who are not normally asked to do this. It is out of their routine, and the chances are high something could be missed such as a door handle, seat lever, or radio knob.
What can you do to limit this risk? One client has taken a creative approach to minimising this concern. They have placed “wipe me” stickers on all of the high touch areas in their vehicles. It is not foolproof, but it is a clever way to improve the thoroughness of their vehicle sanitising efforts and protect their employees. Another option is to create a laminated list of high-touch objects to clean so drivers will remember to wipe down areas they may not think about, especially if they are in a hurry. These can include glove compartment handles, fuel door locks, seatbelts, mirrors, visors, and so on.
Stay safe and stay well! Del