The life of an Ocado driver: a day at work
It’s time for the next part of our much-loved driver series. We absolutely love sharing these stories with you, giving you the chance to get to know our heroes on wheels a little bit better. This time round, we asked a few of our drivers to keep a diary of a normal day at work; including everything from their assigned van of the day to hiccups on the road. Dear diary, let’s dive into the lives of Martin and Scott.
“I get up as usual at 5:07am, just before my alarm clock is supposed to go off. Have breakfast of milk, a vitamin D tablet, a banana, two slices of toast with jam and Marmite (not together though). Quick wash, clean teeth and out at 05:38am. Essentials to remember: work phone, personal phone, car and house keys, pen and returns slip, bit of cash, handkerchief and mask (several). Is it wet outside? Do I need waterproofs? Standard winter kit is a long-sleeved t-shirt, Ocado polo, fleece jumper (optional), shorts, trackies and an all-weather jacket.
I arrive at the Hatfield depot at 06:09am. Put on a mask, have my temperature checked and get van details (hopefully it’s all ready and I don’t have to hang around upstairs). It’s an onion van today. I scrub the van (my favourites are lemon and cabbage), log in to Dani (our delivery and navigation instrument) and check the back of the van for my temperature reading, tote safety and location.
Now’s the time to find out where I’m going and how many drops I have. Today it’s Radlett, Bushey and Borehamwood; 19 drops and about 100 miles in all. I’m happy to say that my route went well today, with no difficulties to report.
As I say, a good day, which generally means light traffic, no diversions, no damages, good weather and good parking right outside customers’ houses. I get back to Hatfield at about 1.30pm, navigate through the van wash, stop off for a top-up at the pumps and join the queue for check-in by one of the helpful marshals, who are responsible for making sure the vans are in good condition on their return. Then it’s time to find a parking bay, and the day is over.”
“Early alarm call today with my 7am start, and even earlier than usual to defrost my car plus the 11-mile journey to the Crawley depot. I park my car, get my temperature taken and am allocated a raspberry van today. Next, I check the roadworthiness of my van, including lights, windscreen wipers, tyres, horn, fuel level and possible damage. I then check the products I’m delivering and ensure each tote is safely stacked. I’m then ready for the day, and check the driver’s notes.
Today I’ve got a few addresses that are off the beaten track, through electronic gates and along farm tracks. I take it slow to avoid overgrown hedges and trees and watch out for the pot holes. I’m out in the countryside so it’s very pleasant and a welcome change from city deliveries. I just need to ensure there’s enough turning space for my van at the customer’s address; sometimes there isn’t, which means you have to walk the rest. Glad the sunshine’s out to top up the vitamin D! My journey today is zig zagging across the Surrey and Sussex border. Great to drive through small towns like Dormansland, East Grinstead, Lingfield, Forrest Row and through the Ashdown Forest to Hartfield where Winnie the Pooh comes from.
For some customers, I might be the only person they see from week to week so it’s a great opportunity to promote wellbeing and chat to them for a minute, but no longer as I have another delivery. I always say hello to any pedestrians passing me as I deliver.
20 very happy customers and lots of different products delivered today; that’ll keep them fed for a few days! Once I finish delivering, I contact the team leaders to see if I can return to the depot. The boss says “yes“ and I take a pleasant drive back to the depot to refuel and get the van checked for afternoon deliveries. Bonus is that I finish on time and get home to watch a bit of the Six Nations Rugby.”