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Well-Being a Key Focus as Drivers Go back on the Road

The past year has seen everything change in the world of remote work.

Prior to Covid remote working was a niche decision by some companies who allowed certain staff members to work from home. Or, more typically, it was the lifestyle of those who needed to be out in the field - the classic sales, engineer or other role that came with a company car or van and required employees to cover a territory. 

But following the dramatic and sudden shift caused by the pandemic we find ourselves looking back at a year where home working became the new norm with many businesses now mulling over their working model moving forwards.

According to the 2021 ‘State of Remote Work’ report most people would now like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers and 97 percent of people who class themselves as remote workers would recommend remote work to others.

But many are also feeling a sense of burn out from being at the same desk every day, jumping on and off endless Zoomor Teams meetings and having little human interaction.

Whilst the biggest benefit that remote workers cite is flexibility, the greatest struggles are a lack of collaboration, communication and being lonely. In fact, the 2021 State of Remote Work report highlighted that 16% of remote workers note their biggest struggle is loneliness. The Mental Health Foundation in partnership with the Universities of Strathclyde, Cambridge, Swansea and Queen’s University Belfast found that one in four adults felt lonely during lockdown. 

27 percent of remote workers also said that they were not able to unplug at the end of the work day, and found it hard during lockdown of not being able to see friends after work. 

But what about the field-based staff who used to spend a large amount of their time on the road and have been accustomed to having that freedom of constant travel and meeting new people? 

Many field-based company car drivers are still working from home, which means the human interaction they gain from visiting customers and prospects no longer exists – perhaps even when their office-based colleagues are having at least some time with co-workers. 

Research by Cranfield University shows how social isolation can lead to stress, anxiety and depression and, as lockdown lifts, many drivers might experience feelings of uncertainty and anxiety as they venture back on the road. In fact, many furloughed drivers may have spent a long time without driving at all and it will take them a little time to readjust. 

Additionally, staff may be coming back to a changed working environment, their role could have altered, some valued colleagues may have left or even succumbed to the virus, and life could be different. 

There are other factors too that could lead to concerns about mental health and wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation reports that during the height of the pandemic over a third of people in full-time work surveyed were concerned about losing their job and the uncertainty that lies ahead is unsettling for many people. 

According to Steve Beadle, senior account manager at The Grosvenor Group, it’s for these reasons why driver wellbeing must now be included in the support given to company drivers. 

“Our ‘Drive Care’ solution delivered in partnership with Fleet Service GB not only focuses on vehicle, driver, legal and health and safety compliance it also looks at a driver’s wellbeing too,” said Steve. 

“By factoring in well-being encourages better driving, reduces stress levels and results in measurable vehicle and driver cost benefits, and as part of a comprehensive compliance audit, risk assessment and driver training programme we can create a unique driver well-being profile as well. 

“Drive Care then unites all aspects of the vehicle and driver management process - eligibility to drive, crash history, motoring offences and any data collected via telematics and other on-board vehicle technologies - to provide managers with a single silo of live and dynamic data. 

“This comes at a perfect time as businesses are looking at ways of offering their employees support with their well-being, and at-work drivers face different mental health challenges due to the unique dynamics of their role.” 

For information about Drive Care, please contact Steve Beadle on 01536 536 536.

Call us today on 01536 536 536

Call us today on 01536 536 536

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