With a record number of Americans quitting their jobs, many companies and startups in particular, have turned to “future of work” benefits to attract and retain employees. Unlimited paid time off, four-day workweeks, mental health support, global remote working and more are reducing burnout and creating a healthier work environment.
However, these improvements have been limited primarily to the white-collar workforce. As many companies are finding out, the labor crisis isn’t restricted to white-collar workers, and one of the most critical workforces, the industrial workforce, is being left behind. Here’s why your warehouse workers, last mile delivery employees, and other industrial workers need to be included in the future of work you’re designing for white-collar employees.
3 Reasons Why Industrial and Office Workers Should Have the Same Benefits Package
- Burnout is happening everywhere, not just at desks
- Injuries are expensive
- Make the future of work inclusive to all
1. Burnout Is Happening Everywhere, Not Just at Desks
The idea of a “future of work” has been tied directly to white-collar workers since its inception, focused on designing an environment that reduces burnout for the increasingly stressful, long hours we spend at our desks as corporate culture continues to get more competitive. But the burnout we need to address, which is also having a major impact on our businesses’ bottom lines, doesn’t end at the office door.
The pandemic has exacerbated already overwhelming demand on e-commerce supply chains and one worker is often doing the job of two or three. The supply chain chaos and labor crisis we’ve experienced through the pandemic have illustrated time and time again that we consistently underestimate the impact that an understaffed distribution center or delayed shipment can have on an entire business’ operations. Investing in every worker throughout your supply chain makes it more stable and reliable.
Constantly hiring new workers for your warehouses and distribution centers, retail spaces, or delivery operations costs a huge amount of capital, and reduces the ability for long-term workers to find efficiencies that help the business scale more quickly. Even if you only employ a handful of industrial workers, to be successful any company needs veteran employees who can grow, train and scale in every department, not just in the corporate roles.
2. Injuries Are Expensive
Turnover isn’t the only consequence of an overlooked industrial workforce, and not even always the most costly one. For workers in roles responsible for stocking heavy products, driving delivery vehicles, or lifting boxes in warehouses, a leading consequence of burnout is injury. Over $250B is spent on workplace injuries every year in the US with the total cost of illnesses, injuries, and deaths amounting to 3.94 percent of the global GDP ($2.99 trillion). By not finding more ways to create a healthier working environment and better benefits for all workers, you incur not only the cost of re-hiring and re-training for these roles, but also the injuries that are likely to come along the way.
In general, tech companies have a tendency to direct more HR focus towards the corporate roles that develop the products, whether that’s building an app, designing hardware, or marketing the brand. But we have to remember that it’s all impossible without the critical industrial workers who actually manufacture the product and get it from point A to point B and into customers’ hands. We’ve reached a growing gap that now means some high-skill roles include remote working from tropical locales and substantial mental health support, while many warehouse workers are unable to take regular breaks or have the proper level of healthcare support to take care of their bodies. We can’t allow this gap to grow any wider.
3. Make the Future of Work Inclusive to All
At least 3.6 million Americans have quit their jobs each month since 2021, creating one of the largest labor shortages that the United States has seen over the past 80 years. The industrial labor crisis has gotten so acute that manufacturing and warehouse managers have no choice but to turn to robots, even when they’re unable to fulfill full job duties.
But the data shows, it’s not that we don’t have enough workers to fill these critical industrial roles, it’s that the jobs offer so little support, no one stays in them. By expanding the benefits you’re considering for your office staff to your industrial workers, you have the potential to attract and retain in these roles far ahead of competitors and the wider industry. Securing a more consistent supply chain workforce is a boon to the bottom line.
To take the first steps towards a healthy future of work for all your workers, open a channel of communication with your warehouse managers, retail or delivery staff. Find out what support they are most lacking and what benefits can help. It’s probably not the ability to remote work internationally, or have four-day workweeks, or a foosball table; it’s more likely to be more frequent breaks during shifts, better PTO, parental leave, or more physical and mental health support. The wellness of all workers contributes to a more productive, efficient company where employees come to stay.