Creative Ways To Make Your Fleet Drivers Miss Home A Little Less
Many truck drivers thrive in the “gypsy” lifestyle of being on-the-go, seeing new places and meeting new people along the way. As exciting as that may be, most drivers eventually grow tired of being on the road alone, enduring feelings of homesickness.
Like most jobs, trucking has ups and downs, good and bad. Finding a happy work-life balance is key to keeping talented, devoted drivers satisfied. While much of it is personal mindset, there are also ways in which fleet owners and managers can help drivers miss home less while also improving driver retention.
Technology Helps Close the Gap
Through the years, drivers have found ways to deal with being away from home for extended periods of time, all of which have been largely dependent on technology. For example, during the 70s and 80s truckers relied on the CB radio to stay connected with fellow drivers and family members.
Later, cell phones became more accessible for everyone which led up to the various modes of communication we’ve come to rely on today. From social media and conference calls to video chat with Skype and Zoom, these outlets have further expanded driver opportunities for bridging the gap across thousands of miles.
While it’s true that many drivers may initially frown upon these technological advancements from a professional standpoint due to having GPS and in-cab camera systems monitoring their every move, they also take solace in having access to the modern conveniences that keep them connected to their loved ones.
As noted by software consultant Kem Wallace, during the 80s and 90s when prepaid long distance calling cards, debit and gas cards became more prominent, truck drivers were at the forefront of embracing the conveniences.
Nowadays there are several gadgets on the market that can help truck drivers be diligent about their health. Newer GPSs not only provide the best route options, but can also help drivers find healthy restaurant and shopping choices along with gyms and nature trails.
Here are a few popular gadgets that fit most any budget:
- Fitness bands and Smartwatches can track steps, heart rate, and send reminders to move.
- Single serve smoothie makers make it simple and affordable to have energizing, nutrient dense smoothies on the go.
- Health apps such as MyFitnessPal.com are available for apple and android phones and tablets, making it possible to track fitness goals, monitor sleep patterns, and track caloric intake.
So, when it comes to retrofitting trucks with these technology features that are geared towards improving trucker safety and productivity, giving drivers easy access to the creature comforts of technology sends the message that you also care about their overall well-being.
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
It goes without saying that truck drivers are often prone to a sedentary lifestyle. Between driving long hours and often having limited food choices on the road, truck drivers are more likely to experience health issues like obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol issues.
While it’s ultimately up to the drivers to make healthy choices, fleet owners can help encourage a healthy lifestyle by making wellness programs easily accessible. In addition to equipping trucks with small kitchen appliances that will enable drivers to store and prepare healthy meals, it’s also worth providing small workout equipment that can be easily used in the truck during downtime.
To further encourage healthy choices, there is a Rolling Strong wellness program that helps keep subscribers on track, motivated, and accountable. Developed with truckers in mind, the Rolling Strong president, Steve Kane, has firsthand experience with the trucking industry. Having been diagnosed with cancer, he is dedicated to helping truck drivers become healthier and happier.
Finally, fleet owners can be proactive in educating drivers on the importance of self-care by promoting healthy eating, exercising, communicating with loved ones and getting a good night’s sleep while on the road. By developing a nightly routine that involves reducing exposure to blue light a couple of hours before bed, and using a noise canceling app or device to mask outside sounds, drivers will naturally feel more energized and experience better moods.
Additional Ideas for Creature Comforts
Some additional upgrades that fleet owners should consider for improving OTR drivers’ experiences include appliances such as coffee makers, crockpots, microwaves, satellite televisions, and refrigerators, as well as climate-controlled sleeping quarters. For example, the Kenworth Idle Management System makes that possible without idling the truck, thus reducing emissions and fuel costs.