You and your employees may be finally hitting your groove with the new normal for safety in manufacturing and warehousing. However, as high as spirits may seem, it’s as important as ever to remain mindful of essential workers and their mental health. To keep anyone from getting stuck in a rut during the busy holiday season and beyond, here are some tips and insights for how to improve the mental health of warehouse workers.
Mental health during the holidays
Whether you know from personal experience or from speaking with your coworkers or friends, our mental health can endure a rollercoaster of ups and downs during the holidays. Seeing family and friends (even if only virtually), the pressure of traditions, shorter days, and more can cause anyone’s stress levels to rise.
Throughout this year, the COVID pandemic has caused new or heightened sources of stress, especially for warehouse workers, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). The holidays can easily exacerbate already modified schedules, longer working hours, and greater dependence on shipping and the supply chain. Not to mention additional safety precautions and concerns. We discuss some specific tips from the NSC and CDC in the following sections.
How to provide the right support
With all of this pressure, hope is not lost for you or your employees. In fact, you can provide the right support for the mental health of warehouse workers with the following recommendations from the National Safety Council (NSC).
- Keep communication open: Be open and honest with your employees. Overcommunicate. If they need support, be there for them. Where you can’t bridge the gap yourself, suggest community resources or other benefits that may help them during this time.
- Discuss healthcare benefits: COVID cases and other ailments that rise during the colder months will likely cause an increase in logged sick days among your employees. Be sure to update them on any changes or perks from your healthcare provider, like if plans offer free flu shots.
- Adjust HR resources: As we mentioned prior, communication is key. Do your best to build a support network for your employees both physically and mentally. In fact, our friends at EHS Daily Advisor have tips on how to create a safer environment specifically in regards to warehouse staff.
What the CDC recommends
While keeping up with local mandates and other safety resources in your industry is important, you should also regularly share and follow recommendations from the CDC. The CDC offers a comprehensive guide to the mental health of warehouse workers and general stress management in the workplace, especially during COVID. In brief, the CDC recommends a combination of the following:
- Open communication: We just can’t emphasize this enough.
- Identifying things within or not within your control: It may seem small, but check-ins centered around this topic can go a long way.
- Encourage a healthy routine in the workplace and at home: Do what you can to help your employees all stay accountable with healthy sleep, eating, and exercise habits on or off the clock.
- Remind them of their importance: Everyone plays a role in limiting and halting the pandemic, as well as keeping industries moving safely in the meantime.
- Share resources: You may not know the full extent of what your employees are going through. Share company-related HR hotlines as well as national ones. This includes the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration resources.
You can’t extinguish every fire on the mental health front yourself. But with these resources and a commitment to your employees (and yourself, too), you can all tackle the holiday season and beyond with confidence and efficiency. Contact us to discuss other warehouse safety topics. Or, learn how we can help you up the safety of your facility with easy, affordable solutions.