6 Ways to Keep Warehouse Staff Healthy (and Happy!) During COVID
6 Tips to Manage Warehouse Employees during COVID, by Samantha Rupp
Tips to Manage Warehouse Employees during COVID
Work satisfaction is something that ideally should sit at the forefront of all Warehouse Leaders’ minds.
After all, you depend on your employees to keep your company afloat, and without their hard work, dedication, and diligence, your vision would almost instantly fall apart.
To gain their earnest loyalty and tap into their peak productivity levels, ensuring their health, happiness, and safety is a must.
Your people are your most important investment— period.
With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, the safety of your workers must come first for the same exact reason. In order to properly safeguard your company and maintain order and position for post-pandemic success, your workers must be able to adapt with you as you devise a way to push through during these hard times.
Whether your warehouse belongs to the healthcare, food, or retail industry, keeping your workplace sanitized and your employees secure should be at the top of your to-do list.
In this post, we’ll give you various ideas to ensure your warehouse staff stay happy and healthy.
1. Upgrade personal protective equipment
When thinking about how to better manage warehouse employees: Is safety prioritized as hard as productivity by managers at your place of work?
Are safety and health risks limited to a minimum within a good Risk Assessment Program?
In the warehouse workplace, your workforce is unable to operate remotely. So you need to ensure that every day that they come into work, they are shielded from the potential dangers of COVID-19. To increase protection levels for each and every individual, invest in proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for your labourers.
Also, pay attention to sizes and how the safety gear is actually used (or not!).
PPE is specifically designed to prevent the transmission of viruses, microbes and other bacteria, in turn decreasing the risk of spread and infection. There are several forms of PPE that you can administer to your workers, such as:
• Disposable gloves
• Disposable face masks
• Protective eyewear
• Protective face shields
• Shoe covers
It is important that your workers know how to properly use the PPE to best guarantee any germs are not spread across the warehouse. Hold frequent company-wide training session that goes over how to properly wear and dispose of PPE.
Use daily huddles for shift managers to give positive examples from your own warehouse environment.
Have you designated a specified waste container for everyone to place their used PPE?
Think of something fun like a new sign every week to make sure your employees use it properly.
- Related: Six-Sigma intro
2. Offer unlimited sick leave
Among the most valuable ways to keep your staff happy and healthy during these hard times is offering unlimited sick time for those who contract the virus or another type of debilitating illness.
This is a strategy that many companies are implementing that provides employees with the peace of mind they deserve should they become sick.
Similar to offering health care benefits, sick leave results in happier, healthier, and more hygienic workers who truly appreciate the company and feel supported by upper management.
After all, your warehouse workers are your greatest asset and without them, your company would suffer.
Worried that staff members will abuse the unlimited sick leave? Let people surprise you positively.
3. Make work-life balance a top priority
Overworked, overburdened, and understaffed workers do not make for content employers.
If you’re finding that your team has been having trouble keeping up with their workload or are too overwhelmed to even take lunch breaks, it might be time to reconsider their work-life balance.
Although it is certainly challenging to find a one-size-fits-all approach to reach a flawless work-life balance, it is easier to start somewhere than to avoid trying at all.
Encourage management and warehouse leads to engage in honest conversations with their teams about how they are doing at work, and use data to determine the degree of happiness and satisfaction within your business.
Ask for ideas, too!
Your workers are successful hard-working people who make up the backbone of your company — they are many times the best people to bring forward the best suggestions about how to boost the work-life balance and raise those key happiness levels.
4. Offer health benefits
In tandem with distributed PPE, offer your crew health benefits such as vision, dental and medical to assure that they are protected and insured should they come down with coronavirus or some other illness.
If you are a management team who cares about your employees, then medical insurance is a must in countries where this is not covered by the government.
Ultimately, workers who have access to healthcare will have more peace of mind. Why? They know they won’t have to pay thousands out of pocket if an urgent medical emergency occurs.
Healthcare can also create more efficient and happier labourers who appreciate the organization for which they work. A study carried out by MetLife showed that 60% of the employers noticed that health benefits raise productivity among their employees.
Happier co-workers who are safe, especially during a global pandemic, are more likely to stay at work, which will inevitably increase the retention rate and raise productivity rates.
At the end of the day, it’s a total win-win. Offering insurance could also save your company money on taxes. And allow you and your staff access to more physicians.
- Related: Manufacturing Month tips
5. Promote a positive work environment
Happy workplaces are made up of happy workers. A positive work atmosphere is more conducive to developing more satisfied employees, so it should be at the top of your to-do list to find ways to make the warehouse feel welcoming and safe.
Promoting healthy, interactional working relationships is the first step in building a sense of community and genuinely getting to know your colleagues as people rather than mere co-workers.
Mental health is gaining importance from a legal point of view when it comes to a Warehouse Manager’s responsibilities. How is your psychosocial environment?
October is World Mental Month and World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year. Make it an all-year-round priority at your distribution center.
Build trust among your associates using face-to-face conversations. Millennials are actively looking for flexible, attractive and innovative workplaces.
Stay ahead of the competition by offering a positive work environment.
6. Take cleaning and sanitizing (very) seriously
To keep all areas of your warehouse completely safe, consider investing in additional cleaning services.
A professional cleaning service will be able to sweep and sanitize all the cracks and crevices in the warehouse to ensure that bacteria is not transmitted or spread across the space.
With the ongoing state of the pandemic, you may need to schedule the cleaning crew more frequently. Particularly if you’re doing a lot of business and are working at a high employee capacity.
In addition to utilizing a cleaning crew, instruct your warehouse workers on proper sanitation habits, provide several hand sanitizing stations throughout the warehouse, and supply each team member with disinfecting wipes. Provide good ventilation and avoid crowded indoor spaces.
These preventive strategies will make a huge difference in how you’re able to contain any potential spread of the virus.
Do your people feel you’re doing enough from a sanitizing point of view? Do they feel safe?
The Shift Project’s study, a joint project of UC Berkeley and UCSF, found that only 41% of warehouse workers reported new workplace cleaning procedures.
How to Manage Warehouse Employees: Always be flexible
We don’t need to remind you that these are difficult times.
With such intense obstacles to our physical and mental well-being, it’s going to take an unmatched degree of strength and perseverance to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
When managing warehouse employees, remember one important thing. Your workers, like you, are bearing the same brunt and need the positivity and protection they deserve in the workplace.
Lastly, be flexible in your ideation and susceptive to advise and suggestions to keep your business running smoothly.
Measure if your improvements are working!
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About the author
Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.
Image by ekenamillwork