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4 dos and don'ts to avoid warehouse worker burnout

12/14/2021

4 dos and don'ts to avoid warehouse worker burnout

Increasing productivity is one of the main goals of any workplace, but it's also a careful balancing act, especially in a warehouse setting. Push your employees too much, and it can not only have deleterious effects on their health and safety but your business as well. When warehouse employees are overworked, the increased physical and mental stress can often lead to workplace mishaps, decreased productivity and dissatisfaction with the job.

A 2020 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found a direct correlation between company leadership and employee satisfaction and burnout rates. This means that supervisors play a pivotal role in keeping workers focused and motivated. With that in mind, here are four dos and don'ts to be aware of as a warehouse manager.

Do: Properly staff your warehouse
No matter your industry or position, you've likely experienced the crunch of being understaffed. A lack of workers can be a serious problem for your business, and spreading this workload across your existing employees only increases the stress and pressure they are under. When your workers are stretched too thin, their productivity takes a nosedive, and accidents are more likely to occur.

There are a few things you can do to alleviate the stress this puts on your employees and business. For example, you can try spreading the workload across first, second and third shift employees. If there are simple, repeatable tasks that don't require the careful attention of a human being, you might want to invest in technology that automates these processes.

Don't: Neglect your recruitment and employment strategies
If you're facing staffing difficulties, it may be time to take another look at your hiring and employment practices. To entice new candidates, you can advertise your company's professional development opportunities or offer competitive starting wages. You can also reach out to previous temporary workers and convince them to join your team long-term.

Do: Ask your employees how they're doing
While it's important to ask your employees about their performance at work, these types of questions can seem loaded. Instead, try asking your workers how they are doing and if they are comfortable. This shows your employees that you care about their well-being and value them as individuals. It also helps you keep track of who is struggling so that you can address their issues and maintain an efficient workflow.

Don't: Extend employee work hours
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers a normal work shift to be "no more than eight consecutive hours during the day, five days a week." While extending work hours may be necessary at times to ensure your warehouse is meeting its quotas, these non-traditional shifts are often exhausting for employees. In a warehouse setting, tired employees are more likely to lose focus and make dangerous mistakes.

Keeping shifts to reasonable lengths gives your employees the time required to return to work well-rested and ready to start the day. Employees who are engaged with their work are far more productive and less likely to make costly mistakes.