By Tompkins Solutions
While the labor shortage began long before the pandemic, the problem has intensified over the last year as a rampant rise in online shopping, rash of store closures and mandatory social distancing wreaked havoc on warehouse operations. While automation has helped alleviate some of the strain on warehouses, these ongoing disruptions are forcing companies to find new ways to attract and retain top talent. Here are five ways to increase job satisfaction and create an optimal work environment for warehouse employees.
With many warehouses already strapped for space, dedicating a large area for an employee game room, gym or on-site child care may not be feasible. Make break areas more inviting by providing comfortable furniture, relaxing décor, various games, Wi-Fi access, charging stations for mobile devices and free snacks and beverages. Create an outdoor space with picnic tables, basketball hoops and other areas for employees to relax, enjoy and socialize when the weather permits.
Temperature and Lighting
Extreme temperatures and inadequate lighting not only affect employee wellbeing and productivity but can also compromise worker health and safety. Incorporating windows and skylights into your warehouse design can improve ventilation and also provide access to natural light, which studies show is the highest rated office perk among many employees. In addition to bringing in more daylight, companies should consider replacing old fluorescent bulbs with LED fixtures, which enhance visibility, produce less heat and reduce maintenance and energy costs.
Determine ways to minimize the amount of time it takes employees to get from one place to another, including restrooms, break rooms and other frequently used areas within the warehouse. This goes for outside the warehouse too—ensure employee parking is located within a short walking distance of the building and away from high-traffic areas that could pose a safety hazard.
Automation and Technology
Many companies are trying to combat the shortage with automation. Robotic goods-to-person solutions such as automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that deliver goods to workers can significantly reduce travel time for employees while also increasing throughput and order accuracy. In addition to robotics, software and wearable devices are also gaining popularity in the warehouse. These tools can be used to monitor worker safety and health, streamline processes and provide real-time training and support. Labor management systems can also be used to track performance and recognize and reward employees for going above and beyond.
Companies must invest the time and money in hiring and retaining top talent in middle management. These managers can make employees feel valued and appreciated by fostering a collaborative culture, improving communication and processes and soliciting feedback from front-line workers. Managers that encourage and listen to feedback from warehouse workers will not only increase employee satisfaction and retention, but also gain valuable insight that can ultimately improve operations, increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Check out our other resources to learn more about how to optimize your warehouse operations and meet changing customer demands.