Innovating Mental Health Strategies in Fulfilment

Mental health strategies in the fulfilment industry can be innovated, writes Zihana Jaleel, Head of HR at Huboo.

The fulfilment industry has increasingly come under the spotlight for its treatment of employees, with particular attention to mental health and general wellbeing. Fingers are often pointed to large corporations like Amazon, highlighting harsh working conditions including demanding shift schedules and physically intense tasks – with some warehouse staff reportedly walking over 16 kilometres during a single shift. These issues have led to well-publicised strikes and debates around labour practices.

With Mental Health Awareness Week upon us, it feels prudent to evaluate what shifts have taken place within the industry when it comes to employee wellbeing. Are the perks and initiatives many companies implement actually effective in making a real difference to employees’ lives?

After many years in HR, I’ve gained firsthand insights into the various challenges and potential solutions for promoting better mental health in our industry – and it starts with going right back to basics.

Prioritising meaningful workplace enhancements

Our experience at Huboo has shown that while wellness perks like free exercise classes and healthy snacks are appreciated, they are not a panacea. We offer activities such as yoga and sports clubs, which are popular for team bonding and relaxation, yet these benefits only touch on broader issues if a company’s foundational work conditions remain unaddressed.

The crux of improving employee wellbeing lies in enhancing the actual work conditions themselves. A significant emphasis on bettering these conditions is crucial, as it not only elevates the immediate work environment but also serves as a prerequisite for other wellness initiatives to succeed. In environments that are safe, supportive, and respectful, employees are more likely to engage with additional perks, leading to a healthier, more satisfied workforce.

To this end, we have introduced a unique ‘hub’ model within our warehouses, segmenting larger spaces into smaller, more manageable units. This reduces physical strain by organising items efficiently and empowers our hub managers through enhanced technology use. This initiative has proven to reduce the physical demands of our roles significantly, improving job satisfaction and reducing staff turnover.

Listening to What Employees Really Need

Too often, companies adopt the latest HR trends without ensuring longevity or real impact. The key to meaningful change lies in genuine engagement with employees, actively seeking their feedback and involving them in the decision-making process.

At Huboo, we’ve implemented Coffee & Cake sessions, initially in our UK offices with plans to expand these internationally. These sessions provide a relaxed forum for staff to discuss their concerns and suggestions with senior management directly. Such initiatives are not just well-received; they’re crucial for creating an adaptive and responsive work environment.

By aligning employee feedback with our operational policies and decisions, we underscore our commitment to their overall wellbeing and satisfaction. This approach not only addresses potential mental health issues before they escalate but also enhances the collective performance of our workforce.

Looking ahead, the future of workplace wellness in the fulfilment sector hinges on a culture that embraces continuous listening and meaningful action. By prioritising employee feedback and their wellbeing, we can transform the industry into a supportive environment that fosters both personal and professional growth.

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