How can employers help? Well, any opportunity to bring employees together to socialize will enhance a feeling of belonging to the company and demonstrate that the company cares. Events such as summer family BBQs or holiday seasonal dinners are more important than ever before.
Enhancing employee communication with family and friends is a means to recognize this and it would show that the employer understands the problems created by isolation. Can you imagine if all trucks had wi-fi access with screens so drivers could Skype with their families?
A grandfather on a long haul could pull over and connect with his family to watch his granddaughter’s dance recital. Placing a laptop on the end of the family dinner table means a driver could eat his dinner and talk with his family while they ate theirs!
It is not the same as being physically present but it is as close as it can get. And the technology is not beyond reach. Skype itself is free no matter where in the world you connect to it.
This technology would also allow an employer to have a better professional relationship with employees. Real live chat software like Skype (or FaceTime for Mac) gives you the chance for valuable face-to-face discussion. (We all know how important body language can be.)
Another advantage is that the technology and hardware stay with the vehicle so it can be passed from driver to driver.
Being able to keep new and aging drivers in touch with their families and friends at work could mean the difference between running trucks or sitting idly, with lots of freight to deliver but nobody to do the driving.
Antoinette Blunt, MPS, CHRP, SHRP, is the President of Ironside Consulting Services Inc., providing human resources and labor-relations services throughout Northern Ontario. ironsideconsulting.com. Blunt is Past Chair of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in Ontario and sits on the Board of the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations.
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