How to thrive in an open vehicle as a postie?

For postal workers the importance of having an efficient, comfortable, and safe vehicle is essential. Their vehicle shouldn’t just be about distribution, it should also be a great tool in their daily work-life. But how does an open vehicle actually work in all weather conditions? Let’s dispel some myths.

how to thrive in an open vehicle as paxster
One of the drivers at Slovenian Post out driving in the snow

From scepticism to enthusiasm 

When Posten Norge (Norway Post) wanted to test open micro EV’s for their mail distribution, they initially experienced divided opinions – many were skeptical and didn’t believe it was the right thing to do. After a well-planned and successful implementation, drivers now don`t want to switch back to vans again.

What are the negative health consequences from large temperature changes? 

“Temperature changes take an incredible toll on the body as the internal systems constantly work to keep a stable core temperature. You can easily get fatigued as the body is working harder than it needs to and overtime this increases the chance of getting sick, as your immune system is more vulnerable to unwanted bacteria or germs”, said Andreas Pohl-Larsen, Product Director Workwear at Helly Hansen. 

andreas pohl larsen at helly hansen
Andreas Pohl-Larsen, Product Director Workwear at Helly Hansen. Photo: Helly Hansen

He also explains that another effect temperature changes have is that you can get sweaty and uncomfortable. If you are inside a warm car and walk outside at a temperature below zero,  your body will start the process of warming up. When you return to the car again your body will not be able to adapt as quickly to the temperature change and you can end up overheating and sweating.  When you next step out of the vehicle, your clothes and body are wet and you cool down even faster – this cycle continues throughout the day.   

“The fact that it’s open, saves me a lot of time” 

Essi Kokkonen works with post distribution every day and loves her job at Posten Norge! The fact that it’s very easy to jump in and out on both sides means she saves a lot of time compared to getting in and out of a car. This is one of the main reasons she enjoys her vehicle so much. She’s pretty clear: “The Paxster has become my best friend”, she says.  

happy posites driving paxster in the winter
Essi (to the right) and her Finish colleague Jasmin. 

See why ergonomics are important in the last mile

4 reasons why weather conditions are not an issue with an open last-mile vehicle

There are a few myths out there about driving an open vehicle in different weather conditions, however, there is also a lot of enthusiasm for open vehicles in the delivery industry. This is probably due to the following 4 factors: 

  1. Heated windshield – means no snow or ice on windows
  2. Heated handles – means you can keep your hands warm even during the coldest days
  3. Saddle cover in 100% wool
  4. Wind deflectors that direct the wind away from the cabin
Saddle cover in 100% wool keeps you warm even on the coldest days 

“Many of our drivers are out long before the snowmobiles arrive, or while the snow is falling, and they all agree the driving performance of the vehicles are excellent during the winter.”

Marianne Romsdal, Distribution Manager at Posten Norge (Norway Post)

What should you wear in your open vehicle?  

In a profession where you get in and out of the car many times a day, it is important to dress for the weather. One benefit of an open vehicle is that you’ll have a stable temperature for the whole day, and you’re not switching between a heated car and icy winter air several times a day. Or the opposite way, switching between 30-degree heat outside and an air-conditioned car. At Posten Norge (Norway Post) the sick leave rate fell by more than 15% after they switched to using open vehicles. This is partly due to fewer temperature fluctuations. Pohl-Larsen is not surprised; “Stable temperatures allow the body to work less, and the workers become less fatigued”.

Pohl-Larsen continues: “Clothing is more important than most people think. We see many people having very technical outer layers but use a cotton t-shirt underneath. They often feel they are getting wet and believe this is from the outside. However, the wetness experienced inside the jacket is created by the body sweating and overheating.” 

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