Drivers, Cuddly Characters?
When we asked Paul Crittenden, one of our Class 1 HGV drivers, about his experience working for Browns Distribution, we got some food for thought on a wider topic. Professional drivers spend a significant amount of time miles away from home and by themselves. It takes a special kind of person to do this role!
Shining a light on the very important topic of mental health, our chat with Paul provoked some thoughts around emotional well-being. Researchers have found over the years that healthy interpersonal relationships are critical to long and happy lives and even believe that strong human to human connection supersedes income, IQ, social class and helps to reduce the risk of dementia, stroke, heart disease and even common colds.
Mark Knapper our Driver Welfare & Training Manager, said "drivers, are absolutely fundamental to our business success and yet there is an industry wide tendency to overlook their emotional welfare. As lone workers, Drivers don't necessarily have the same access to colleague comradery and generally calls to and from the office are focused on the operation, at Browns Distribution, we are developing a culture of recognising our drivers to be the important asset they are and remembering how powerful some simple pleasantries can be! After all, often the face our business, we need them to feel valued and part of the wider Browns community. We encourage our drivers to maintain a healthy mindset and one of the ways we do this is allowing a bit of home influence to share their day."
All drivers have their own way of getting through the day and combatting loneliness, not one size fits all! And let's not forget, there are many that actually enjoy the sanctuary of a quiet vehicle cab with maybe just the radio for company.
Paul Crittenden takes pride in his job on the road and has been a driver for many years. Being a very social and family man, he told us "My truck is something of a menagerie! I've got a few sentimental cuddly toys to keep me company, the longest serving is 'Gorilla' who has kept me company for over half a million miles! A present around the time of my daughters birth, I felt that a Gorilla cuddly toy was better placed in my cab to remind me of my 'little monkey' Shannon, now 22 years old, who was safely tucked up at home, while I was on the road.
It became somewhat of a tradition for me to be accompanied at work by various cuddly characters so now I also have 'Pink Floyd Pig' aka 'Pig' and 'Animal' (from the muppets) which Shannon bought me for Christmas one year and Zippy (from Rainbow). Its just a bit of personalisation for my mobile office that makes people smile and reminds me of the people that love me and are waiting for me to return safely.
Here at Browns Distribution we like to think that we strike just the balance of professional brand rigidity and individuality, after all the impression we leave with our customers is how we made them feel when we interacted with them, it helps to have happy people, wouldn't you agree? We try to never under estimate the power of engagement and an enriched workforce.