Spring is in the air! Well, hopefully it is by the time you read this column. And with warmer weather and longer, sunny days comes the urge to get outside and be more active, and I want to encourage drivers out there to do the same.
For most of us, winter sucks. Just getting out of your truck and walking across a parking lot to get some food is a sloppy, cold, wet aggravation. But there is no excuse for not getting outside in spring and summer and being more active. It will make you more alert, help you maintain good health, and overall make you a happier person.
Next month, you will see a new column in Truck West, one that will dive deeper into the health issues drivers face and what they can do to help remedy that through fitness and diet.
We have written about this tragic consequence of being a truck driver many times – and I’m not exaggerating, it is a tragedy that the industry and those in its most vital position have to deal with.
A survey done by HireRight in 2016 revealed the impact poor driver health was having on the industry. Of the survey’s respondents, 45% said they do not offer any kind of wellness program to their employees. In my opinion, this shows either a lack in understanding of the repercussions of not encouraging a healthy lifestyle, and what that can mean to your business. Or worse, it shows the company does not care.
Poor employee health means higher turnover, increased human resources costs, and higher health premiums.
The survey also found that 41% of truck drivers were leaving the industry so they could spend more time at home.
This is not just a driver issue in 2018. So many of us sit while performing our jobs for long periods of time, whether it be at a computer, a reception desk, or behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. This is just what the world of technology and automation demands.
To attract the new generation, we unfortunately cannot all be like Google and offer a full fitness facility, nap pods, and healthy food choices at a complimentary café.
What we can do – particularly in the age of the ELD, which more effectively limits the number of hours a driver can legally be on the road – is ensure drivers are provided with not only health benefits, but also assistance with gym memberships and incentives to stay fit; maybe a company-wide initiative where employees take part in a fitness challenge that recognizes those who participate; how about a driver challenge that provides a bonus to the one who can get in the most steps, do the most pushups, jumping jacks, burpees, or anything else that gets them moving?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to establish a company wellness program. The challenge is that there is not a bottom line revenue stream that can be clearly identified to show owners and management that it is financially-beneficial to do so. If managers could pick up a financial report and see that their wellness program saved or earned the company X amount of dollars last year, they would be more apt to support one.
I guarantee you three benefits to encouraging health and wellness with your drivers and other employees: you will save money in the long run, see less turnover, and at the very least, you will be showing you care about those who work at your company.
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