Behavioral Health in the Delivery Service Industry
August 18, 2020
By Tyler Arvig, PsyD, LP
Associate Medical Director
Of all the words that have become commonplace for the general population over the past several months (quarantine, self-isolation, distance, virtual- everything, antibodies, etc.), you don’t hear much talk of economic growth, hiring, or expansion. These are just not current realities for many industries. For the parcel industry, however, business is booming.
Why go out when you can have things delivered right to your home? As a result, most doorsteps these days resemble what appear to be shrines made of cardboard boxes. Full of essentials and non-essentials, these packages have become the lifeblood of existence in today’s pandemic. For that reason, employment in parcel delivery has exploded, with thousands of jobs added nearly instantaneously. Job security may not be a concern, and this must feel like a welcome relief. Yet many employees themselves may not be feeling relief.
- Parcel work is not a solitary activity. It involves frequent contact with coworkers, physical contact with packages as they traverse the world, and possibly interacting with the public. This means potential increased risk for viral exposure.
- Work from home is not an option. Technology plays a huge role in modern shipping, but cannot take the place of required human contact. There is no virtual package delivery.
- Related to point #2, this poses a challenge for childcare, as well as schooling, as most areas of the country are performing school, in full or in part, remotely.
- Stress is ever-present, owing to the greater demands placed on the systems and people that deliver products. Volume is outpacing capacity, in a time when particular attention needs to be paid to safety.
Some have postulated that behavioral health problems are going to become the next pandemic. Looking at the preliminary data suggests we are seeing a marked increase in behavioral health conditions. If we act now, however, this need not portend a second pandemic. What we do now for our employees matters. Supporting their health and wellbeing now can help to stave off larger and more disruptive events tomorrow.
R3c’s expertise is in helping support the health of your workforce. We have experience supporting the parcel industry and know how a healthy and supported workforce translates into meeting your business needs.
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