Social distancing. Quarantine. Sheltering in place. These days we’re learning all sorts of new terms that all boil down to the same thing — more time spent alone or in the company of just our immediate family.
This isolation is unfamiliar to many of us. Even those who live alone typically leave home and interact with others face-to-face on a regular basis, allowing a bit of social interaction.
But right now, we’re urged to stay at home, cutting those social interactions out. While that’s an uncertain situation for most of us, it’s one that truck drivers are familiar with.
In spending most of their time on the road, drivers are often isolated, spending large stretches of their days and weeks alone. So, how do they handle isolation?
It’s pretty fascinating, actually. Truck drivers offer us a good bit of insight into how to handle isolation in a way that helps protect your health and well-being. Let’s take a deeper dive:
How Isolation Can Be Dangerous
It’s logical that spending time isolated and away from others can have a negative impact. But it’s actually detrimental to your health and well-being over time.
In fact, isolation and the resulting loneliness have been shown to be as dangerous to our health as some chronic health conditions. A lack of socialization can negatively impact your physical, mental, and emotional health, particularly over time.
How Truck Drivers Handle Isolation
Because drivers are often isolated from others as they drive across the region and the country, they find ways to adapt that protect their health and well-being.
The most important takeaway from drivers’ habits that we can all benefit from right now is this: Even in this time of social distancing, it’s important to be social.
Because in-person interactions are limited, just as they are for drivers, it’s important to seek out alternative ways to communicate that allow you to interact with others. Phone calls, texts, and emails are great, but they don’t always fill the need for interaction since you can’t “see” the person.
That’s where options like FaceTime come into play, giving people an opportunity to interact more closely with others, even while maintaining a safe distance.
“Being able to have face-to-face time is so important,” says Katie Love, Marketing Manager at WorkHound. “It’s one thing to call someone on the phone, but if you have the means to have a FaceTime conversation or set up a video conference, it means so much more.”
Just think about it — if you’ve ever had a video call with someone you love, think back on how it made you feel. More than anything, it offers a sense of connection.
“A video chat or call may not be an in-person connection, but it’s the next best thing,” Love says. “It shows you’re investing undistracted time in that person. Seeing other people, their smiles, and life going on around them is so much more meaningful than just hearing a voice sometimes.”
How Businesses Can Handle Isolation
Truck drivers and trucking companies also offer some important lessons for businesses. It’s a new world out there right now, with more companies than ever stepping into remote work.
For businesses, it’s important to maintain a pulse on employees even when you aren’t seeing them in person every day. This requires careful listening and proactively taking steps to engage with your entire team on a regular and consistent basis.
Video conferencing, mentioned above in context for individuals, can also play an important role for businesses. It doesn’t even need to be used in a “work” context, actually. Having a virtual lunch via video conference or an after-hours hangout can give employees the interaction they need and crave during this time as they’re working on their own.
In this time of social distancing, it becomes even more important to build and strengthen relationships, keeping in tune with what your employees need and want. A family culture at work is even more beneficial now than it normally is.
“When we’re in isolation, our confidence lowers,” Love says. “The longer employees go without interaction with other members of their team, the more likely they are to feel like no one cares about them. Regular interaction, particularly face-to-face, helps to build relationships and confidence in one another.”
As we say often at WorkHound: “Information breeds confidence. Silence breeds fear.”
Ready to hear more about what drivers are saying? Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs! Ready to put our feedback tool to work for you? Sign up for a free demo to learn how we can help.