By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, FMI
Burnout. It would be shocking if those across the food supply chain didn't feel worn down after nearly four consecutive years fraught with unexpected crises, challenges and the rapid deployment of new tools and technologies.
Even getting back to normal isn't, well, normal, as the way goods and services get to consumers has changed markedly. That said, there are ways to take stock, learn from and move forward beyond the physical and mental tolls of the early 2020s, according to Erin Stafford, a speaker and author who specializes in burnout and peak performance.
Stafford likens preventing and overcoming burnout to diet and exercise. "It requires constant attention. As much as we'd all love it to be easy, there is no one-and-done thing we can do to prevent it," she explains. "Instead, we have to make better choices every day and stack small habits to keep our mental health dialed in."
She will address this timely and highly relevant topic at the upcoming FMI Supply Chain Forum, in Addison, Texas, from Sept. 26-28. During the event's closing keynote address, Stafford will share her mental health toolkit, which includes at least eight steps that professionals can take when they need a boost. "It includes getting movement, connecting with loved ones, laughing and more. Sometimes the simplest things make the most dramatic shift in our mental health," she notes.
To that point, one of the tools that Stafford emphasizes is particularly simple, especially when done in balance with the other approaches to reclaiming one's mental and physical well-being. "One of the best ways to help reenergize and refocus our selves is to incorporate what we call proactive rest into our days and weeks. It's about using rest as something to prevent burnout in the first place as opposed to just recovering from it," she says.
The notion isn't just about staying still or taking a snooze. Proactive rest can include efforts like limiting meetings to under an hour, clearing schedules of meetings on Fridays, turning off music or podcasts in the car or making a point to get 10 minutes of fresh air on a lunch break.
While Stafford's closing session is designed to reenergize supply chain pros as they prepare to take home their learnings from the Supply Chain Forum, the event provides a host of other solutions, insights and peer networking opportunities to help navigate burnout-inducing challenges.
Priority focus areas covered during the general and breakout sessions and hands-on workshops include:
- Strategic Supply Chain Management
- Collaborative Transportation
- Labor, Workforce and Talent
- Transportation and Warehouse Performance
- Supply Chain Scorecarding
- Product Allocation Strategy
- Technology Innovation and Transformation
Learn more and register for the FMI 2023 Supply Chain Forum.