Commercial drivers deal with many issues that can foster unhealthy social issues at work. Driving is a mentally and physically taxing profession, and the sedentary and isolating nature of the accompanying lifestyle, along with a lack of access to preventative healthcare, and ease of access to unhealthy food options can make matters worse. As a result, providing social wellness support can aid in lowering turnover rates and assisting in keeping the best workers on the road rather than letting them go due to issues that could have been avoided. Although maintaining one’s health and fitness while driving has never been simple, it is now impossible to disregard the effect driving has on individuals who do it for a living.
Commercial Driving is Lonely. It Doesn’t Have to Be
Social isolation is an objective state of having low social contact with other people. Quantitative indicators such as marital status, living alone, religious attendance, organization memberships, and frequency of contact with kids, family, and friends are frequently used to evaluate social isolation.
Commercial driving, by nature, is often a lonely and isolating profession, and that can be difficult. Loneliness is one of the major problems affecting drivers and their mental health. Sleep deprivation and weakened immune systems are only a few of the adverse physical health effects of social isolation. Higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are linked to loneliness. Additionally, poor cardiovascular and cognitive health is also linked to isolation, and incidentally, those are some of the most common issues for drivers. According to research, a lack of social connections raises the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. One study even showed that loneliness raises the risk of dementia by 40%.
Maximize Your Community
Strategies for improving driver health must be adapted to each driver’s requirements. Below we have provided a list that can be readily incorporated into your social wellness support program.
- Provide Drivers With Exercise Recommendations
Most drivers are permitted to work up to 70 hours over the course of eight days. They have 14 hours to stop after logging in to begin their day. They are only allowed to drive for around 11 hours during that time. Thus, according to the legislation, businesses must give them a minimum of 3 hours to better their health.
Offer health coaching or provide tips on how to include exercise, movements, and a healthy diet into their busy schedules. Drivers can stretch inside their vehicles, walk around them, and utilize kettlebells. Additionally, podcasts, radio shows, and audio books about exercise and trucking can be a big help for drivers.
For loneliness, keeping a journal can be an excellent release. Encourage your drivers to put their thoughts and feelings on paper, whether in a physical journal, the notes app on their phone, or even just a piece of paper. Writing can be done on practically any subject. Writing in a notebook keeps their thoughts busy and often helps them feel better if something is upsetting them.
- Take a Pet
Many carriers have created social wellness support programs for pet-owning truck drivers. Research has shown that drivers who travel with pets are healthier and happier. Provide drivers with a well-planned program before they embark on a road trip with their pet because there are several considerations to keep in mind. While traveling, consider water, food, and entertainment for their pet.
Many drivers receive limited, but predictable time off when they travel large distances. Encouraging them to make plans ahead of time for things to do at home can help the time spent driving past more swiftly. Emphasize to your drivers the importance of looking forward, such as something on every vacation, whether it’s going to special events, spending time with their kids and spouses, or having an outing with friends.
Social Health, Mental Health, and Driver Support
Traditional benefits like health insurance and bonuses are no longer sufficient to meet all your drivers’ needs. Basic benefits in the trucking industry don’t just fail to attract the best drivers; they also fail to keep them employed and healthy, which affects their ability to work as well as carriers’ costs – high turnover, constant recruiting, and training new drivers is a costly endeavor, and investing in these practices will save money and benefit your drivers. To avoid these costly high turnover rates, it’s important to consider comprehensive mental and social health supports. Health expectations, testing, and an overview of the company’s wellness programs should all be included in the onboarding process. Social wellness support must be highlighted and reliably communicated as a component of a driver’s journey.