Professional truck drivers will often tell you that life on the road is a lonely experience, and while many drivers excel in solitude, some wish the experience was different. Many trucking companies are seeing the writing on the wall and expanding their policies to include team truck driving jobs.
While some corporate leaders may worry about the potential conflicts arising from two people operating in such close quarters over long durations, many others see the benefits of a team over solo operators. People can mitigate common conflicts through scheduling and task management. However, more importantly, a team driving experience can improve the psychological health of solo drivers.
The Significance of a Team
Many companies tend to overlook the effects of being alone on a truck day in and out. Researchers suggest that feelings of isolation can reduce productivity by up to 21%, meaning that lonely drivers tend to be slower and less attentive on their routes.
Being alone for long periods can also lead to depression and weariness. Truck drivers are cut off from their families for weeks at a time, and no amount of phone time is enough to recover from time away from your children. Having someone else to share the traveling experience and burden can help mitigate feelings of isolation and depression. Still, for a team to be truly effective, they need to know how to work together.
How To Make a Partnership Work and Last
It is not enough to put two hard working drivers together; you also need to match personalities and driving styles. While having two people with conflicting personalities can work, it more often leads to distraction and frustration, leading to failure over the long run.
The key to creating a lasting driving team is to focus on the three elements of successful team building: common ground, individual roles and outside socialization. However, while it is easy to say these things, team building is an intricate process, and each area will require equal participation and commitment.
Find Common Ground
Did you know that 97% of workers believe that a team's lack of alignment affects performance and project outcomes? While not every team member needs to think and act the same, they must find common ground, especially when working in a truck.
The purpose of a partnership is to get a reprieve from solitude and feel like you are still a part of the world. While two truckers need not mesh on every issue, it is beneficial to have an interest outside of work. Perhaps they both enjoy the same music, or both have families. The goal is to match people with similar styles and interests to establish a strong foundation for a lasting partnership.
Discuss Individual Roles
Before committing to a partnership or assigning a partner, it is critical that drivers participate in some communication training. Nearly 86% of workplace failures stem from ineffective communication. Therefore, it is fair to assume that two drivers who cannot communicate openly will not last as partners. If a company wishes to avoid such driver turnover problems, some focus on positive communication strategies is necessary.
The team will need to discuss individual roles and responsibilities. They will need to layout specific sleep schedules that abide by federal and state regulations. More importantly, however, each team member must feel they have a voice and the respect of their partner because, without those things, conflict is inevitable, as is team failure.
Socialize Outside of Work
Many trucking companies will favor married couples for team drivers because of their communication skills and proven teamwork. However, automatically viewing married couples as capable driving partners is often oversimplified because the small shared space is a strain on any relationship.
Instead of focusing on the potential for two people inside of a truck, consider ways of building trust and communication before the added stressor of a long road trip. Socializing outside of work can improve communication patterns by nearly 50%. Therefore, if people can share time outside of work, they may stand a better chance against truck driving long and confined hours.
There is growing evidence to support the long held belief that solo truck driving leads to poor physical and mental health. Many trucking companies now understand the importance of addressing this current crisis for new and existing drivers, which is why some companies are now allowing for team drivers; some are even encouraging it.
There is a growing opportunity for team truck driving jobs, and do not count yourself out of luck because you don’t currently have a partner. Many employers will assign partners, allowing you to enter the potentially lucrative transportation field without the fear of isolation. However, before committing to a team opportunity, make sure you understand the three aspects crucial to team-building: common ground, communication, and socialization.