Work-Life Balance in Logistics
BY: Bernardine Ruiz • Jun 07, 2019
Logistics is an unheralded but vital part of any business – especially for manufacturers. The country’s logistics market is expected to hit P71.41B in 2020 and as such, the industry will want to grow even more in terms of investment, infrastructure, and manpower.
Logistics involves managing and coordinating resources and suppliers, transportation and delivery, distribution and storage, people and facilities. It is closely linked with supply chain management that facilitates production activities from delivery of raw materials to the manufacturing site to the timely movement of finished products to reach end consumers.
Jobs in the industry are varied. These include warehouse managers, operations managers, terminal operators, quality assurance managers, compliance officers, manpower supervisors, business analysts, delivery and dispatching officers, fleet officers, truckers, drivers and many more.
Much is asked from logistics executives and professionals – analytical thinking, utmost professionalism, good relationship-building skills, organized working habits, and dynamism. For employees, there is much pressure and movement. Logisticians have to be diligent in planning schedules, deliveries, and other components of the supply chain. Workers may have to be assigned in different locations like warehouses, distribution hubs, provincial and regional offices, and stations. In a highly globalized world, employees may have to keep up with different time zones and timings.
In such a fast-paced and high-pressure work setting, it’s important for employers to take care of their employees and for workers to take care of themselves. Work-life balance must also apply to logistics workers although it may be harder for them due to the very nature of their business. However, there are still some things to remember.
1. Be transparent.
Be upfront with current and prospective employees regarding work environment, hours, terms, and other job components that may affect their work-life balance. State clearly in the contract, job description, employee manual, and other such documents work hours and the possibility of extended schedules if needed. Include overtime, offset, or other such conditions and benefits. Tell your employees the possibility of working in other places and the duration of doing so. Such information will greatly help employees balance their time between work and personal life. Sometimes, all it takes is to have an understanding between employers and employees regarding their time and corresponding benefits.
2. Offer work-life balance programs and other benefits that suit employee needs.
Since logistics may require extra time and work, employers must offer program and benefits commensurate to the efforts employees put in. These may include offsets, telecommuting benefits, allowances, and others. It is also important to listen to employees’ experiences and design programs according to their feedback.
3. Integrate work-life balance into the company culture.
While logistics is one of the most dynamic and fast-paced industries, companies still need to take care of their employees if they want to retain them. Every company is different even if it does belong to a certain industry. It is up to the company’s leadership how they ultimately want their culture to be, and it has to be one that fits everyone. Work-life balance has to be supported by company leaders and integrated into each employee.
1. Identify the factors affecting work-life balance.
Aside from managing work-related factors, it is also important to look at people, things, and events in one’s life that can contribute to overall stress. Tipping the scales in either direction will ultimately sacrifice both. Factors like negative co-employees, distracting behaviors like excessive internet surfing, and engaging in non-constructive activities with other people in the workplace can waste your time in the office. Likewise, you can get negative influences from other people outside the office or he/she may engage in non-enriching activities. Spend time on activities inside and outside the office which are productive and beneficial to your everyday life.
2. Adjust to the situation and manage your time.
As mentioned, logistics work can take a toll on your time (long work hours or late shifts) and overall well-being (long travels, fast-paced activities). Balancing work and life means making concessions with work, family, and personal time. If work demands long hours for a certain period of time, balance it out by making agreements with your supervisor or manager to make up for a personal time. When you do get your personal time, make the most of it by spending quality time with yourself, and family and friends.
3. Start with manageable goals towards work-life balance.
If you are caught up with too much work, it’s better to slowly wean yourself from your responsibilities. Forcing yourself to quickly balance out your time may lead to drastic changes that you may not be ready for. For example, drastically cutting down your work hours may make your output hurried and may lead you to make mistakes. In logistics, mistakes can become costly. Start first with pacing your activities so you know better how to manage your time and workload.
Work life in logistics is fast and pressure-filled. However, steps may be taken to balance work and life more as long as companies and the employees themselves stay committed to doing so.