Nearly two-thirds of fleet drivers said their mental health had been affected while driving for work during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by leasing company Alphabet GB.
The firm has announced its findings along with the publication of a new mental health resource, designed to help fleet managers prioritise and check their drivers’ wellbeing.
Alphabet found that young drivers were most likely to report mental health concerns, with 67 per cent of 18-24 year olds and 44 per cent of 25-34 year olds affected.
“Now, more than ever, the fleet industry needs to shine a spotlight on mental wellbeing and create an open forum to accelerate discussions around mental health,” said Alphabet GB ‘s CEO Nick Brownrigg.
“It’s important that drivers are not only aware of the resources available to them, but also feel empowered to make use of them and be their authentic self within the workplace.
The full guide is below and is a helpful resource to fleet managers everywhere. Make sure you check in with your drivers regularly to see how they are coping during these uncertain times.
Alphabet’s Driver MOT guide:
- Check in: Colleagues are the ones most likely to spot changes in behaviour in each other. If you notice someone is quieter, more distant, or perhaps more irritable than usual, this may be a sign they are struggling with something. A simple 10-minute call can make a big difference and start a constructive conversation
- Planning: Driving schedules should be carefully planned with employees to help reduce stress and ensure proper breaks can be taken, while they fulfil their schedule. Try to be adaptable where possible, to consider shift patterns and family managemen
- Proactivity: Encourage drivers to be proactive about looking after their mental health and creating a helpful work-home balance, including working flexibly where possible. Give them space to take time for themselves and the activities they enjoy, away from work
- Rest: Emphasise to your drivers the importance of getting enough rest. Not only will this improve performance, it could also prevent additional stress and help aid positive mental health. Remember, stress and uncertainty are demanding on mental health and may be experienced or mistaken as fatigue
- Wellbeing: Promote to your drivers the importance of looking after their physical wellbeing and eating well, as this can help to improve self-esteem and cognitive function. Simple exercise or getting outside for some fresh air each day can provide a positive boost
- Support: Make sure employees are aware of the help, tools and support available to them within your organisation. This could be through Mental Health First Aiders, helplines, assistance in tackling work-related triggers and creating a mental health hub so they know where to turn, if in need. Knowing there is support available will help create an inclusive, considerate atmosphere
- Training: Ensure sufficient mental health training is provided for all managers and regular refreshers are offered, to enable an open and supportive working environment around mental health
- Communicate: Speaking about a ‘mental health at work’ plan creates an open dialogue around the topic and encourages input from employees, helping to remove stigma. Some people may need more support than others, and are less likely to speak up if they are struggling
- Feedback: Provide drivers with regular opportunities to feedback, so you can gather data to continually build upon the working environment and your ‘mental health at work’ plan. Demonstrate actions and show how changes are being made to support positive mental health, following feedback within your organisation
- Language: Struggles with mental health can affect anyone, at any time. Try not to define a person by their behaviour, as certain phrases or definitions could be unhelpful or cause offence. Remind your employees that they are not alone and exercise compassion in the way you discuss the topic, either in a group or individual situation