Providing Support for Stressed Supply Chain Workers!

Supply Chain Workers

The term supply and demand aptly describes the fundamental mechanics of the supply chain industry, and hints at its challenges. While it’s a great career path, supply chain work is demanding, typically marked by long hours, a high-pressure time-sensitive operational environment, and physical exertion.

It’s a vocation that can easily take a toll on the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of its workforce. In a somewhat somber milestone for the industry, 2021 marked the year in which supply chain managers were quitting their jobs at the highest rate since 2016, as quantified by a separation rate increase of 28%.

The implementation of robust health and wellness regimes within supply chain organizations is key to retaining more of the sector’s top talent, both in management and in its employee ranks, and here’s why.

The Cost of Injury and Illness

A workforce that is under chronic stress, where health and wellbeing checks are not being regularly attended to, is more than likely to crack under the pressure, with some of its employees experiencing illness and injury.

Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) is the largest disability insurance scheme in operation in the United States. In one year alone, it paid out $95 billion dollars to workers. However, this money and assistance with medical treatment costs is never a guarantee.

There are in fact many reasons why your disability claim may be rejected. For example, you could be disqualified due to a lack of accompanying medical evidence or as a result of your rate of earnings. When a claim is rejected, everyone involved is affected, from the individual to the company they work for.

Prevention is the Cure

Health and wellness programs serve several important aims, minimizing both absenteeism, and presenteeism, where a worker is physically present but impeded from performing their role at an optimal level due to compromised external conditions or reactive stress and anxiety.

Such programs need to be carefully and professionally curated, responding to the unique features of the job being performed as well as those undertaking them. There should a functional aspect to the programs, whereby work spaces incorporate natural light, clean air, and dedicated relaxation areas.

Furniture and work stations should be ergonomically designed to support spinal health and alignment, and to encourage employee mobility and relief from sedentary work practices.

Mind and Body Checks

Effective workplace wellness programs should also feature structured guidance for the monitoring of physical and emotional health among Supply Chain workers. They may offer seminars or discussion groups on general topics such as nutrition, or on health concerns that speak more directly to a target demographic.

For example, if a high occurrence of a particular medical condition has been noted amongst the workforce, education and support around this area could be provided in a group setting.

Emotional wellbeing can be addressed through the provision of counselling services to those who request them, as well as arranging leisure and relaxation opportunities like playing stress relief games such as Classic Solitaire or Hearts for staff to unwind, socialize, and share their concerns.

Supply chains are entire systems, and in order to be productive and profitable, they require every element to be in balance. Supply Chain workers are not dissimilar, comprised of physical, mental and emotional selves, all of which need to be attended to in order for health and wellbeing to be achieved.

Supply chain management has an important role to play in contracting health and wellness programs that are relevant to their unique workforce. They also need to practice their own medicine so that this can be the year when burn out in the industry is reduced, and more and more of us are happy, healthy, and in harmony with our work.

Supply Chain Workers article and permission to publish here provided by Cindy Cummings. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on January 19, 2023.