The warehousing and distribution industry exists solely through the hard work of its employees on every level: pick and pack staff, team leaders, drivers and handlers, and senior managers.
Vast numbers of staff are required in order to meet the demands of modern customer fulfilment, with many 24-hour and same day deliveries being pushed through the supply chain.
Many warehouses operate 24/7, with staff working in shifts to cover all the hours in a day. The full time shifts tend to be around 10.5 hours over 4 days a week, although other shifts can vary depending on the warehouse and individual employees’ needs.
Although condensing full time hours into a 4 day working week is legal, it might actually impact the productivity of your staff.
Everyone in the industry is likely to remember the Panorama investigation into one of Amazon’s largest warehouse facilities situated in Swansea last year, where workers were relentlessly pushed into picking orders faster and faster.
The backlash from the investigation looked bad for Amazon, and highlighted many of the terrible working conditions for warehouse workers across the UK. Having a company that respects its employees’ right to a comfortable working environment is far more likely to receive positive feedback and more motivated staff.
The average warehouse assistant walks anywhere between 10-15 miles a day just from moving to and from the storage shelves in order to pick and pack goods. This, combined with the added pressure of hitting daily and weekly targets can cause severe stress, de-motivating employees and reducing the number of goods that are picked overall.
Although a company may prioritise health and safety in the warehouse, it is all to easy for staff to forget simple tips, such as how to lift heavy items properly, when they are rushing across the warehouse floor.
Physically demanding long shifts are not the only problems that can affect employees. Picking and packing is a notoriously tedious job and doing the same job over and over again can lead to mental fatigue, which make even the simplest tasks difficult and can affect output.