Staying healthy on the road: Tips for couriers

As a courier, life on the road can be a slog. You’ve got delivery deadlines to hit, customers to keep happy, and invoices to keep track of. With all of this, it can be easy to forget about one essential thing: your health!

Staying physically and mentally healthy is really important, so we’ve put together some simple yet practical tips to keep you fighting fit.

Physical health: Keeping the motor running

Food and drink

Grabbing a quick pasty from the petrol station is easy. We get it, they’re tasty and convenient, but it’s important to remember that our bodies need proper fuel to function at their best.

Next time you buy lunch, try to get a mix of lean proteins and veggies, and avoid carb-heavy food like sandwiches and pastries. You’ll have more energy throughout the day, and it’s better for you long-term! If you’re a snacker, skip the Haribo and grab some fresh fruit or healthy snacks like roasted chickpeas or dark chocolate.

And don’t forget about hydration. Keep a reusable water bottle on hand and refill it regularly to stay alert and keep fatigue at bay. A lot of motorway services have free water refill stations these days, and a few petrol stations have them as well. You can even get water bottles with straws, so you can drink (water) while driving.

Staying active

Exercise is vital for your physical health. But when your “office” is a driver’s seat, finding time for a workout can be challenging.

The key here is creativity. Can you fit in a quick walk while waiting in a loading bay? How about some stretches during a petrol stop?

Here’s a quick 5-minute stretch routine you can use to stay limber and refreshed. No yoga mats or Lycra leggings necessary!

1. Neck stretch (1 minute):

2. Shoulder rolls (1 minute):

3. Upper body twist (1 minute):

4. Hip stretch (1 minute):

5. Seated hamstring stretch (1 minute):

These quick and easy stretches can help you alleviate stiffness, improve flexibility, and boost circulation, even within the confines of your van, or when you’re waiting in a loading bay.

Remember, it’s always important to ‘listen’ to your body – if you feel any pain or discomfort when you’re stretching, try a different stretch or take it easy. If it persists, book an appointment with your GP!

Routine health checkups

Speaking of GPs, it’s easy to forget routine health check-ups. Regular visits to your GP are crucial to catch potential issues early. Plus, they can provide personalised advice based on your individual needs.

If you’re struggling to get an appointment at your local surgery, some high-street pharmacies can give health advice and consultations.

Rest and sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Getting proper rest is as important as eating healthily and exercising.

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and maintain a regular sleep schedule. This can be tricky with late-night or early-morning jobs, but even a quick power nap at a motorway services can make a world of difference.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a sleeper cabin in your vehicle, invest in some decent earplugs and bedding, so you’re as undisturbed and comfortable as possible.

Mental health: Keeping the wheels turning

Managing stress

Let’s face it, courier work can be stressful. Traffic jams, tight deadlines, difficult clients, the list goes on. That’s why finding ways to let off steam and relax is important. Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or simply enjoying your favourite tunes on the radio can all help reduce stress levels.

Staying social

On the road, it’s easy to feel isolated. Make an effort to keep in touch with family and friends regularly. A quick chat during breaks can boost your mood.

Also, don’t overlook the importance of building relationships with your clients and fellow drivers. A friendly conversation can brighten your day and make the job more enjoyable!

Mental stimulation

Long hours on the road can be a drag. Keep your mind sharp and avoid boredom by listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or even learning a new language.

We highly recommend Pete the Courier’s Sunday Q&A series, which is available on all major podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

So long as it doesn’t distract you from driving, it’s a plus!

Wrapping up

In conclusion, staying healthy on the road is about balancing your physical needs with your mental well-being.

Eat well, stay active, get plenty of rest, manage your stress, keep in touch with loved ones, stimulate your mind, and don’t forget those routine health check-ups.

Remember, a healthier you makes for a happier, more efficient courier. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone!

We have various measures in place to prioritise the safety of our members, staff and partners during this time.

The Exchange Remains Fully Operational

Transport Exchange Group is responding to the effects of COVID-19 in an empathetic, proactive and practical way. Our top priority is the health and safety of our trade community, partners and staff. 

The Department for Transport has confirmed in writing that the work of the Transport and Logistics sector is essential and should continue to the greatest extent possible through this crisis. It is for this reason that we continue to operate with some adjustments.

Haulage drivers, managers, warehouse staff and all other logistics professionals need to continue to go about their business to keep supply chains moving, and government policy is clear that this applies to all supplies chains and not only those for food and medical supplies. At all times workers should however follow Public Health England guidelines on social distancing.

To download the full letter from Ben Rimmington, click here

Our Approach to COVID-19

1. Safeguard our member businesses

It’s our collective responsibility to protect the integrity of the Exchange and safeguard the interests of our member businesses as much as possible. We’ve asked our members to pay drivers and carriers on time or even earlier if possible.

Rest assured that we are also closely monitoring slow payers reported to us. Payment cooperation ensures the smooth-running of businesses and keeps loads moving. 

If you’re having difficulty or anticipate any problems, please speak to us. 

New Complaints Resolution (coming soon) 

We’ll be introducing a new Complaints Resolution process designed to resolve any payment issues quickly and efficiently. 

2. Keep our members informed

Our marketing email communications will continue as usual, with helpful information sent out to members about COVID-19 developments, product releases or platform-related updates. You can also refer to our pop-up banners found on the log in page of the platform for information. 

If your contact details have changed, see this article on how to update them. 

3. Navigate situations accordingly

We realise that each member’s circumstances are different. If you’d like to discuss anything relating to your account, please contact us on 020 8993 7100. 

We endeavour to treat your case with empathy and help you navigate your circumstances accordingly. 

4. Provide continuous customer support

We aren’t compromising the support promised to our members during this time. Our team is still available to help at the same operating hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.  

In addition, we’ve expanded our team to cope with the increased volume of calls and enquiries relating to COVID-19. 

5. Have a fully remote workforce

For the continued safety and wellbeing of our staff, our head office remains closed until further notice with all employees working from home. Our operating hours remain unchanged to ensure the continuity of business on the Exchange. 

There are no impacts on our ability to keep the Exchange running reliably and securely. 

6. Share best practices

Transport and Logistics is a key sector and we need to keep supply chains running, but that doesn’t mean the safety of our members must be compromised. Our digital tools and app functionalities allow you to keep your business running while stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

For more tips on how to use our digital features to help stop the spread, click here

7. Postponed meetings and events

With all our staff working remotely, we are complying with the government’s social distancing guidelines. We’ve cancelled any pre-arranged face-to-face meetings with members, employees or partners. 

Our annual Members’ Evening, set to take place in June, is postponed until further notice. 

Working in logistics means that many of our members are in daily contact with people across the country. According to a recent study funded by the US National Institutes of Health, Coronavirus can survive on stainless steel and plastic for 72 hours and 24 hours on cardboard, so always bear this in mind whether you’re working in an office or behind the wheel.

We want to get you ready and equipped to prevent infection and protect others by providing practical information and tips for your profession.

Top 10 tips to protect yourself and others

Tip #1
It is advisable to check load details before quoting or accepting a booking. You can contact the load-poster by phone or text to see if you’re required to take certain measures or precautions during pickup or delivery.

Tip #2
Try and go completely digital with your workflow and POD process if possible, speak with customers to discuss beforehand as they may still want a hard copy POD. Stay informed with what type of PODs your recipient is willing to accept at this time, they may accept a picture of a written signature on a piece of paper.

Tip #3
Remember to wipe your mobile screen with disinfectant wipes but we recommend not exchanging your phone, pens and paper with your customers.

Tip #4
Keep disinfectant wipes with you to clean the inside of your vehicle, especially the steering wheel.

Tip #5
Pay special attention to Euro bookings as advice and restrictions will vary between countries.

Tip #6
Don’t restrict access to restrooms for carriers. For us to protect each other we must ALL wash our hands.

Tip #7
Avoid direct contact with those showing signs of illness to prevent the transmission of the virus onto your hands.

Tip #8
It’s best to sneeze and cough into tissues. Place a waste disposal bag in your vehicle. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow. Steer clear of touching your face – this includes your eyes, lips and nose as you can infect yourself if your hands are carrying the virus.

Tip #9
There is a shortage of hand sanitisers in stores, but if you do happen to have some and you sneeze into your hands, use it immediately. If you don’t have hand sanitiser, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.  

Tip #10
Don’t worry too much about wearing surgical face masks. If you happen to have them, it wouldn’t hurt to wear them. Face masks are more beneficial to people who have the virus so they can try to stop spreading it to others should they cough or sneeze.