While the warehousing industry fared better than other industries last summer, the heat of the pandemic touched us all. This year’s heat promises to come more from the actual weather and the way employers address the summer with their crews.
- Vacations should be the first order of business. What? Didn’t we just return to a “normal” workplace a few months ago, and now we need another vacation? Well, yes, we do. Despite the fact that most people were out of their office environment for the past year, people were still working and keeping up their commitments as much as possible. The stress of doing or not doing doesn’t go away very quickly. Give yourself and your employees time to recharge and rejuvenate by taking that requested vacation and traveling safely to that dream destination. Do it for yourself and for your employees and co-workers. Everyone will be happier for it, resulting in higher productivity.
- Scheduling – both the vacations themselves and the work left to be done during vacation times — is a big undertaking. Who gets priority when two people want to take vacation the same week? What, if any, temporary staff needs to be brought in and what can be covered by the regular remaining staff? Ask employees for their recommendations, especially those who are part of the inventory fulfillment and on-time delivery departments. Have vacation policies in place, so there is no second-guessing. Keep detailed records of vacation time.
- Flexible summer hours/virtual work – We’ve proven that it can be done. Zoom meetings are an effective way to include everyone right from their current location. Virtual meetings will continue to be valuable not only throughout the summer season, but into the regular business season. No longer does the boss have to return early from vacation to attend a board meeting. It can be done virtually, and planned in advance! No longer does everyone have to come to the warehouse on Friday for the weekly meeting. You can encourage employees to get a head start on the weekend by joining the meeting virtually. If you rotate Zoom callers, you can gain the trust and loyalty of all of your team members. They know they will have a chance to implement a virtual work schedule for summer time.
- Casual attire – Changing the attire to a more relaxed dress code for the summer goes a long way for employee morale and motivation during the dog days of summer. The warehouse can be stifling hot, and standard uniform may become burdensome. Provided more casual wear is safe and appropriate, employees should be permitted to wear climate-based clothing.
- AC adjustment/fans – If your office space in the warehouse or your inventory rooms have individualized controls, encourage your staff to adjust the thermostat as necessary in the rooms. Allow or provide small fans for those employees who are working in corners or in small stuffy offices.
- Equipment safety – The start of summer is a great time to do safety checks on all equipment – from rack systems to forklifts. Remind employees of safety guidelines and refresh them with safety seminars. All equipment should be in prime condition, because as temporary employees begin using it, the cautious atmosphere becomes even more important.
- Hydration – Drink, drink, drink. As we have hand sanitizing stations everywhere, so should we have drinking water stations. It’s that important to overall health. Make sure you and your team are hydrated all day every day. Warmer weather will heat up the inside of the warehouse, and you want to be prepared for any climate changes.