Poultry producers, stop using the term social distancing

Mental health concerns due to the lockdown need to be addressed as employees may be bringing personal stress with them to work.

xnova, BigStock.com
xnova, BigStock.com

Egg farmers and livestock producers are part of an essential infrastructure that is responsible for feeding the world. With that in mind, worker health is more important now than ever, as producers work to fill their obligation of feeding consumers.

Mental health concerns due to the lockdown need to be addressed as employees may be bringing personal stress with them to work.

During the Business Insights Webinar, Profitable Egg Production, hosted by the International Egg Commission on December 3, Travis Schaal, director of global production with Hy-Line International, suggested using the term physical distancing rather than social distancing so that employees still feel like they can participate in some socializing with others without potentially spreading germs.

This is more important now than ever. Employees are constantly facing the what-ifs associated with the coronavirus, both at home and at work. Management should be encouraging socialization through technology like Skype, Zoom, Facetime, etc. In some cases, I believe it is helpful to share webcams and even see each other's faces.

With the holidays quickly approaching, many will go without their traditional routines and family members creating a negative void in their life. Holiday parties are still a must and breakout rooms in Zoom make for a fun and interactive way to communicate in both large and small groups.

"This is a time for reflection and a time to hone in on the things that will help our staff thrive, to follow the policies we need them to, in our workplaces every day," he said.

It is still important to encourage people to take time off from work, even if they are working from home. Employees need time to relax and to be in the moment with their families. If they are happy in their home life, this is usually reflected at work.

Physical distancing is key to stopping the spread of the virus in the workplace. The term social distancing is an inaccurate way of describing the task that needs to be accomplished, he said.

Effectively communicating

"You cannot communicate enough," said Schaal. The how and why questions that are associated with company decisions related to the pandemic are important. Management should be consistent and match rules to scientific guidance so that there is something to fall back on for the actions a company may be taking, he explained.


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