Health and productivity can go hand-in-hand. Think about it: the better you feel, the more you accomplish. We often talk about the health of our trucks, their lifecycle, maintenance needs, and costs. But, the health of the driver population is especially important.
When fleet managers are under the constant strain to reduce expenses, increase productivity, and in general get more done in less time and for less cost, typically no stone is left unturned in the search for saving a few bucks or transporting more payload.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), productivity losses linked to absenteeism costs employers $225.8 billion per year. The cost of lost productivity because of chronic pain range from $11.6 to $12.7 billion per year. Full-time workers in the United States who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health problems miss about 450 million more days of work than healthy workers, costing more than $153 billion a year in lost productivity, according to Gallup reports.
One area fleet managers may be overlooking is the health of their drivers. One of the most important benefits of having healthy drivers is the overall happiness and well-being of your workforce. There are some obvious benefits of having a healthier driver force and a few that you may not have thought of before.
Some benefits include:
- Increased employee productivity. Fewer sick days and time out of work related to getting sick equate to more productive employees.
- Increased payload. While it may only be about 100 pounds or so, that can equate to more tools, etc.
- Increased fuel efficiency. For every 100 pounds of weight dropped from a vehicle, that can equate to a 1-2% improvement in fuel economy.
- Increased morale. Drivers who aren’t ill or handling medical issues typically have a higher morale are happier and more productive.
- Lower insurance rates. If drivers aren’t having as many incidents related to fatigue or illness, insurance premiums can drop. Health insurance providers may also lower premiums if drivers pass wellness exams.
Now, the benefits are clear. But, what can a fleet manager do to help their drivers get and stay healthy? A few ways that you can help increase the overall health of your truck driver workforce include:
- Discuss the importance of health during meetings
- Try out a health program. Have drivers log their meals and fitness while on the road. During their breaks, have drivers get out and stretch, go for short walks, and get moving during the day.
- Discourage smoking. A lot of truck drivers’ smoke. If you can help your drivers quit, they can become healthier and possibly more productive if they were taking frequent smoke breaks.
- Be aware of scheduling and make sure you drivers are getting enough time to rest between shifts.
Utilize tools from CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), such as their total worker health program https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/twh/.
Are you making efforts to help get your driver population healthier, happier, and more productive? What efforts have you put in place?
E-mail me, let’s chat!
Executive Editor, Work Truck magazine
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