When you combine extraordinarily long work days (or nights), traffic jams, fully loaded truck beds as well and an overall stressful work environment, that's a recipe for burnout. Truckers are really feeling it these days and the same can be said for their fellow workers in other professions. A survey done by Robert Half in May showed that 44% of respondents felt more burned out by their job than they did in 2020.
But considering the hard-working, no-complaining nature of your staff, it's unlikely your drivers will tell you how they're feeling. Since unaddressed burnout can result in resentment, hostility and/or quitting their job altogether, it's important to recognize classic signs of burnout so your workers don't walk out.
Here are a few tell-tale indications of burnout:
1. Quick to anger
Everyone can get angry or frustrated now and then, but if the manner in which your workers react doesn't seem commensurate with the stressor itself, that can be a major red flag that is suggestive of burnout. A good way to gauge if your employees are quick to anger is by getting to know them and observing their temperament in a variety of scenarios. If they're generally pretty mild mannered, their response to a perceived irritant will be easier to identify.
2. Routinely late
Similarly, coming in late to work happens to everyone, given how many variables can get in the way of arriving on time (e.g. traffic, oversleeping, accidents, family dynamics, etc.). But if tardiness is habitual — several times in a given week or month — burnout may be the reason why.
3. Calling in sick
Mental health days are important and can help to recharge a person's batteries from a productivity standpoint. But much like being late all the time, perpetually calling in sick is another indicator of employee burnout. And they may be legitimately under the weather, as stress can take a toll on the body's immune system and its ability to fight viruses and germs.
Burnout is called burnout for a reason; its effects cause the mind and body to literally slow down and have reduced stamina. If your workers seem to lack their youthful energy, burnout may be to blame. This manifestation, like their being quick to anger, is typically easier to identify if you've had time to observe their general comportment and vigor both on the job and in their day-to-day life.
5. Falling asleep a lot
Just about every poll these days shows that Americans by and large aren't getting nearly enough sleep as they should. Truckers may be among the biggest offenders given the nature of their shifts. If you spot your staff snoozing in the drivers' lounge, and that's unusual for them, burnout may be contributing to their drowsiness.
How you respond to employee burnout is your call, but the first step to a solution requires recognition. Try to be mindful of these behaviors so you can extinguish burnout.
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