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1 in 5 transport & logistics employees considering quitting due to excessive stress

Nearly one in five employees (17%) in the transport and logistics sector are considering leaving their job role because of excessive stress experienced in the last year.

One in ten employees in the sector (10%) have already left their job role due to excessive stress over the last year — this is double the number of retail employees, and more than healthcare workers over the same period.

During the busy Christmas period and with increased pressure on staffing and workloads across the industry, employers are encouraged to invest in mental health support for employees. More than one employee in eight who suffered from excessive stress over the last year believe their company didn’t provide sufficient support.

Up to 27% of employees from the sector have taken off work for mental health reasons in 2021. 7% of employees have required unpaid leave due to mental health issues – this is double the number of those that took unpaid leave due to physical health problems.

The 2021 Stress and Mental Health study, undertaken by Vapeclub, asked transport and logistics employees working for 67 employers in the UK about their experience of stress and mental health issues in the workplace, the cause of excessive stress in their role and the impacts on life outside of work.

Almost half (46.7%) of employees have been struggling to sleep properly as a result of excessive stress – a problem that deeply affects day-to-day life, and can be dangerous as a HGV driver.

Meanwhile, (40%) withdrew from others or socialised less, leaving them to deal with stress without the vital support of friends and family. For 33%, feelings of excessive stress led to further impacts on their mental health.

Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, said: “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Pressure at work is usually the main culprit and when budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.

Policies like turning off email servers outside of working hours helps ring fence valuable recovery time. Mental health first aid training can also help managers spot the signs or triggers and put preventions in place.”

Claire Brown, Career Coach and former Occupational Therapist for the NHS, said: “In this past year, we have seen the continued impact of the pandemic upon people’s careers and their experiences of the workplace. However, in addition to the existing challenges, there is now an increasing need to adjust to a constantly evolving and changing landscape. The constant change in expectations across a range of areas coupled with an absence of effective support structures and change management practices has led to an increase in work-related stress for many.

“Now, more than ever, employers need to prioritise the health and well-being of their staff teams otherwise they will find many employees forced to take sick leave due to stress or ill health. Any issues and grievances should be discussed openly with employees and they should seek to foster a culture in which work-related stress is de-stigmatised by recognising it as a genuine health concern.”

Fleets ‘need to be aware of growing impact of pandemic on driver mental health’

Fleets need to be aware of the growing impact of the pandemic on mental health and any subsequent safety risks to drivers, FleetCheck is warning.

Peter Golding, Managing Director at the fleet software specialist, pointed to a new poll that showed 40% of people believed their mental health had become worse during the crisis.

He said: “This is just the latest in a series of polls and pieces of research showing how the last nine months have had a very negative effect on the mental health of many, many people.

“We know that mental health problems of all kinds can have an impact on driver performance on the road. With people saying that feelings of anxiety, stress and depression are particularly apparent, there is a genuine case for fleets to take action.

“Essentially, employers should be fulfilling their basic requirement of checking that drivers are fit to drive and of course, their mental wellbeing should arguably be as much part of this assessment as if they had a physical problem.

“It should be taken as a given that anyone who feels that their mental health has deteriorated to a point where they should not be driving should be taken seriously, and employers should also make it clear that such situations will be dealt with sympathetically.

“Probably the starting point for most fleets would be to seek professional human resources and medical guidance in order to ask drivers a few questions regularly in order to flag up any immediate issues that need attention.”

Golding added that FleetCheck was examining the introduction of basic mental health tools into its Vehicle Inspection App, which included not just daily walkaround safety checks but also incorporated questions about the driver’s health.

“We modified the app last year to cover coronavirus symptoms and now seems like a good moment to add further questions about mental health. We are taking advice and hope to be able to do this soon.”