To honor National Mental Health Awareness Month; Pack Protocols decided to take a necessary detour and write about workplace culture and how it directly affects packaging professionals.

Most companies if they are lucky enough have a small team of packaging professionals. If not, someone else takes on the role. Often; product packaging is not on the radar. Upper management may be unaware of this and the sole focus is to ship product, leaving packaging to scramble for an appropriate solution.

Packaging professionals deal with a multitude of responsibilities. Some of these aspects include: design/development of packaging, tooling/equipment, procurement of packaging, testing, packaging documentation, costing, unrealistic timelines, etc. Compounding the complexity of the project by interacting with other individuals internally and externally makes it difficult to be successful from a business perspective.

This is for just one project! Adding different SKU’s and other product lines to the work matrix can be demanding. All of these factors place unwanted burdens on packaging professionals. Once the company culture is negatively affecting them by causing unnecessary stress, it can be too late. Companies need to be cognizant that employees expectations are to be treated fairly as a human and not just a number.

Below are a few tips for packaging professionals to navigate the right workplace culture for them:

  • Know what type of person you are and how you would fit with the company.

A structured person may not be a good fit for a company where there are no rules and processes.

  • Is the company presenting themselves transparently and honestly?

Workers need to probe company qualities prior to accepting an offer by asking specific situational questions when interviewing with the company. Vetting the company’s verbal statements can be challenging and that’s when you may have to search external websites or contact current employees to get an actual read on the company.

  • If you’re feeling constant pressures and not enjoying your work/not having fun, trust your instincts.

Determine what is the root cause of these problems and have open communication with company management and establish a plan. If nothing appears to change from the management side and you’re still feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it’s probably time to move on.

In some cases the company may be great. However, the company may exhibit poor communication between management and executives causing others strife.

  • Evaluate what is important to you not the company.

This bullet point highlights the current labor shortage in the U.S. at the moment. Before the pandemic, certain working professionals held monetary stability in higher regard compared to their personal mental health. The pandemic has shed a light for some individuals: the future is uncertain and working all the time for a wage not appropriate for the work conducted may not be the best way to spend the rest of their living days. If the workplace requires long extended hours and expectations are to be available 24/7/365; it may not align with your work-life values.