The coronavirus pandemic has seen a significant increase in working hours for van drivers. On average, drivers report they are working almost 20 hours more per month. Despite the added pressure, most drivers say that they feel appreciated by colleagues, employers and the public. In a recent survey conducted by Mercedes-Benz Business Barometer, 82% of van drivers and operators feel that their efforts have been appreciated by customers during the crisis, with 27% receiving a thank you message on social media and 21% receiving applause while out on delivery.
Asked what their greatest concern is, almost 50% responded that time away from home is top of the list. In fact, missing family and time away from home was a greater concern than mental wellbeing (38%) and physical health (36%).
Mercedes-Benz Vans UK managing director Steve Bridge commented: ‘‘It is important that we continue to support this vital sector with kindness, because without them, quite simply the country would not be running in the same way.”
The results of the Mercedes-Benz survey contrast sharply with those from a survey by CameraMatics at the outset of the crisis. In April, CameraMatics asked both truck and van drivers if they felt appreciated and 50.4% responded that they did not. The survey had followed a period of peak stress for the nation’s drivers, with a staggering two billion pounds worth of extra groceries purchased in the UK in the four weeks to 21 March 2020. This month’s more positive responses could be due to drivers and the public becoming accustomed to the crisis and more confident with safety and hygiene measures. Van drivers have experienced a period of unusually low traffic on the roads and have more chance of finding customers at home to take receipt of deliveries. While the volume of work was high, lower traffic levels and friendlier interaction with customers are likely to have been temporary improvements for drivers.
Post-lockdown, van drivers face a fresh challenge as the public is urged to walk or cycle to work and traffic-disrupting work on cycle lanes in urban areas gets underway.