Raising productivity and morale in the warehouse

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It’s a well-known fact that happy and motivated workers produce better results. A recent study found that happier workers were 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. This implies that staff morale and wellbeing is not just an HR goal: it’s fundamental to business performance levels.

The logistics sector employs millions of workers around the world and must actively manage morale to ensure it attracts and retains the best employees. The warehouse is a key focus here, and traditionally may not be seen as the happiest of working environments. But warehouse managers now have the tools to keep workers motivated, in both what they are doing and how they are doing it, without even physically being there.

The concept of talking to a machine may not sound like a great motivator, but voice technology has been found to have positive effects on warehouse workers’ work-life balance and overall wellbeing. This is done through providing clear guidance and direction over the course of the shift and enabling greater efficiency. Through voice-directed work, warehouse staff use small belt-worn portable devices and headsets, leaving them hands-free and eyes-free, focused on the task at hand.

Instructions from the warehouse management system are delivered through the headset, one simple command at a time. The picker confirms each instruction verbally and the system is updated in real time. As instructions are given on an as-needed basis, pickers can concentrate on single actions without distraction or delay, therefore reducing errors.

Compared to manual processes, which involve checking lists or screens while simultaneously trying to carry out high volumes of goods without making mistakes, a great deal of the stress associated with warehouse picking can also be removed.

The result? Businesses adopting voice have seen an average increase of 20% in worker productivity compared with previous systems. At the same time, accuracy rates have risen up to 99,98%, critical when considering that the cost of returning an incorrect item is up to five times as much as processing a new sale.

Incentivise: It’s the responsibility of the warehouse manager to ensure that a good job does not go unrewarded. But again, voice can help. With voice in place, it is possible to introduce competition and make elements of the working day a game, offering rewards for completing additional tasks or meeting all targets. With precise instructions given by the warehouse management system, there can be no suggestion of bias towards workers, levelling the playing field for all.

Health and safety: Health and safety should also be considered as important to overall worker morale. Warehouses can be inhospitable at times, but the increasing use of technology is helping to produce safer working environments. For example in freezer picking, wearing a voice headset means no need for workers to remove gloves to type information into a mobile computer, a small yet strong benefit through the course of a working day. Working with both hands free also makes it easier to lift heavy items safely and having both eyes free means better awareness of the surroundings, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.

As a result, all of this has a profound effect. Workers have been shown to be less tense at the end of the day. Their daily tasks become that much easier to achieve, there is a reduction in their worry of making a mistake, and they know they are working as efficiently as possible, allowing them to leave on time.

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