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Even while the rest of the world feels like it’s stalled out due to COVID-19, warehouses continue to see an uptick in business.

Stay-at-home laws have necessitated an increase in e-commerce shopping for both essential goods and, well, products many of us could maybe live without, and with it comes an increase in business for warehouses across the country.

 

This increase in business, combined with the various other stresses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, can be tough on your workers. By helping to manage their workloads and keeping your team as fresh and stress-free as possible, you can help prevent burnout, avoid mistakes, and even reduce the risk of illness by keeping stress levels down (a known factor in weakened immune systems).

Here’s a few of our favorite tips for reducing stress and managing employee workloads in the warehouse, whether it’s during COVID-19 or something more normal:

 

Staff up appropriately

By now you should have a good idea of what your workloads are, how many products you can expect in and out of the warehouse, and what your usual daily routines look like. Accordingly, you should take greater care in staffing up (or down) as needed. Bring in temp workers to cover any staffing gaps, and identify your peak hours/shifts to better understand when and where your workers are needed.

 

Understand your employees’ strengths and weaknesses

Now, more than ever, you need to make sure every member of your team is working at peak capacity to keep products flowing in and out. This means making sure every worker is trained up to the best of your team’s ability, and keep them working in the departments they can be the most help with. If someone is better at picking items from the shelves than they are at processing incoming items, keep them on the floor and let someone else handle the shipments, and so on and so forth.

 

Review your processes

Now might be a great time to take a look at your current processes and see where your workers may be getting stuck or otherwise impeded. Do your workers know what pallet racks or warehouse shelves their needed items are on? Is there an area of the warehouse that’s more prone to traffic jams for some reason? Is there a section of items that’s always miscounted? By taking better stock of these issues and working with your warehouse staff to resolve them, you can get a better idea of what needs to be done to increase productivity and reduce frustration on the floor.

 

Forecast and monitor stock

During the pandemic, some items will be naturally prone to running out more often than others, but keeping an eye on your stock levels will help you keep your customers better informed of what’s available, and let your staff know what to expect. If you’ve got orders going out that represent the last of your on-hand stock, make sure this shortage is communicated as quickly as possible to both your staff, your vendors, and your customers to avoid confusion and get the item back in stock as quickly as possible.

 

Listen to your team members

Finally, soliciting feedback from your staff will allow you to get a better idea of how everyone is holding up. Overworked or low-morale workers can affect your ability to get things done, not to mention your ability to attract, maintain, and nurture talent. Make sure to offer a friendly ear to your staff whenever possible to help them better express how they’re doing and how they’re keeping up with the work being asked of them, and offer solutions as able, to keep everyone productive and on the same page.

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