Driver burnout isn't something new. Before the pandemic even began, the practice of overworking drivers to the point of exhaustion was seen frequently in the transportation industry. The pandemic only heightened this dependence on having drivers constantly on the road.
Pairing a driver's already demanding schedule with the near arrival of the holiday season can put some drivers over the edge. Some drivers are out on the road for weeks at a time without a real chance to rest. Sure, there are mandatory stops the driver must make, but a short break won't prevent your drivers from reaching the point of exhaustion.
What is Driver Burnout?
To begin, let's make sure we all know the definition of burnout and what could cause it. Burnout is defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Most of the time the person who is suffering from burnout doesn't even know they've reached this point.
What are some of the things that may contribute to this? Excessive hours on the road without time off, time away from home, lack of rest, traffic, poor health habits, pressure to meet deadlines, and pressure to provide for their families. Without even knowing it, carriers and companies have a major impact on the mental state of their drivers. With the holiday season approaching, now more than ever is the time for you to make sure you have done everything you can to help your drivers avoid burnout.
So, how can you help your drivers avoid this state of burnout?
It's All About the Schedule
A typical person works 40 hours a week, add 30 more hours to that and you have the average hours a week a driver spends on the road. Yup, being a driver is hard and the schedule can make or break them.
We know it's impossible to run a company where every run is regularly scheduled and consistent. However, identifying drivers in your company whom you can tell may be on the verge of burnout can end up saving you and them in the long run. If you are able to identify these drivers, sit down and talk with them. Suggest they get on a regularly scheduled run so they can plan out their weeks and know when to rest. You'd be surprised by the difference in a person's performance when they have a consistent schedule to follow.
Having a regular sleeping schedule can be a deciding factor in how a driver behaves. Lack of sleep can cause unsafe driving, road rage, lack of motivation, and more. This can put the driver and your company at risk. Making the effort to look out for your drivers and let them know you value their well-being can earn their trust so next time they feel comfortable enough to tell you how they're feeling.
The Importance of Logs
Oh, yes the world of digital. The days of lying about taking rests are over. Electronic logs are major in ensuring your drivers are taking the breaks needed in order to get their runs done on time, but at no expense to their health and your company. No driver is invincible and even if some claim they don't need the rest, they do.
The electronic logs are your friend and are there to make sure the company is doing its part in taking care of its drivers. The deadlines of the holiday season can cause companies and drivers to panic and want to get their runs done quicker, but it isn't worth it in the long run if it means you're putting your drivers at risk. It can be difficult to adjust to the ever-changing ways of operating a business, but having mandated breaks and rests are critical to helping your drivers avoid burnout.
Giving the Time Off
Who doesn't love a vacation? With the busy season approaching, allow some of your drivers to take a few days off here and there. Give them time to be home with their families and fully rest up. The season will bring many long hours on the road in sometimes grueling road conditions so give them the time they need now so you won't regret it later. Little breaks from work can be like turning a light switch on in a person's brain. You don't know how much you need a break until you get it. Giving your drivers a short break before their most demanding time of year will allow them to come back fully ready to go.
Hire More Drivers
Not to state the obvious, but if you want to avoid overworking the drivers you do have, you may need to hire more. Running a business can be difficult, but the aftermath of damaging the mental and physical well-being of your drivers is even worse. Nobody wants to drive for a company that looks at them as just another driver. Identifying when your drivers have reached their max and when is the time to add more drivers to your fleet is a critical trait to have as a decision-maker.
The last thing you want is for your drivers to be so burnt out by the holidays that you have lost any chance of reaching your deadlines. Not to mention, this could lose their trust and cause them to leave the company altogether.
Lucky for you, your friends here at FindaTruckerJob know just how to get you the drivers you need and keep them long-term. Hiring more drivers for your company will not only help your current drivers avoid burnout, but it will also help your company run smoother and give you the best shot at finishing the busiest time of the year ahead.