5 ways to keep construction employees happy and healthy

Construction Workers Mental Health

If we asked you to consider the dangers faced by construction workers, what would come to mind? Falls? Electrocution? Accidents caused by power tools or heavy machinery? Yes, these are all very real hazards within the industry, but often, we overlook the most prevalent threat:

Mental health.

In a 2019 report by the Chartered Institute of Building, it was found that between 70-80% of construction industry professionals experienced depression or anxiety.

With 97% of construction workers reporting that they were experiencing stress throughout 2020, it’s important for employers to understand why — so that they can help to prevent or alleviate it.

Some of the top reasons cited were the uncertainties of working location, cost pressures, lengthy commutes and a lack of sleep.

So how can employers help to keep their employees happy and healthy? Let’s take a deeper dive into the solutions that you can offer to support the well-being of your construction employees.

5 ways for employers to support construction workers’ mental health

1. Destigmatize mental health issues

While we have made significant strides in normalizing conversations around mental health, society still has a long way to go. Unfortunately, the stigma around mental health is more prominent among men, who make up nearly 90% of the workforce in the construction industry. It won’t be easy to eliminate mental health stigma, but there are a few ways that employers can help to reduce it.

Team leaders and managers can take the lead in opening up discussions around mental health and reminding their employees to let senior staff know when they’re struggling. Leaders could organize regular check-ins — either monthly or quarterly — to see how they’re coping and what more the employers could do to offer support.

Inviting guest speakers to share their own stories and hosting seminars around mental health is another great way to normalize this discussion among your employees. Hearing others be vulnerable around their personal experiences can encourage workers to reflect on their own mental well-being and be more able to recognize signs of depression or anxiety within themselves or their co-workers.

2. Offer mental health training

When someone is struggling with their mental health, they won’t always feel ready or able to come forward to talk about it.

Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) are employees that have been trained with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to recognize the symptoms or indicators of mental illness.

These MHFAs can identify who they think would benefit from receiving support and help guide them toward the right places, whether that be self-help information, employee assistance programs or professional services.

Optimizing well-being packages to include not only mental health training, but stress management courses, mindfulness app subscriptions, or one-to-one counseling and therapy appointments is a great way for employers to help support employees.

These packages should be created in consultation with your employees to ensure that you’re including high-quality, relevant resources.

3. Improve the employee onboarding process

When it comes to mental health support and assistance, there is no one size fits all approach. However, employers should ensure they’ve minimized any potential stressors at work.

One area often overlooked when considering how to make current employees happier is the onboarding process. But the numbers speak for themselves. Employees who say they had exceptional onboarding experiences are 2.6 times more likely to be extremely satisfied at work. In fact, 70% of those with exceptional onboarding experiences say they have “the best possible job.”

In a fast-paced industry such as construction, putting additional time, effort and consideration into the onboarding process can alleviate pressures in the months to come.

To improve the onboarding process, employers should optimize new-hire development plans, safety training and periodic check-ins during the first three months.

4. Offer flexible working

Construction Worker health

Around 38% of construction companies now offer flexible working to their employees.

Flexible working’ describes any work pattern that gives a degree of flexibility on where, when and at what times employees do their job. Providing flexible working options to construction workers simply means giving them greater control of their working patterns.

Traditionally, it’s been a no-go for the construction industry. The construction sector is synonymous with location-based work and a culture of long hours — both things that may contribute to the deteriorating mental health and well-being of construction workers.

In a pilot for flexible working with site-based teams in the construction industry, it was found that flexible working promoted a better work-life balance and improved sense of well-being.

Beyond that, teams felt more energized on the job and were more motivated.

Practically, it may not be feasible to offer workers complete autonomy over their working hours. But there are some easy wins to be had. Consider offering workers options when it comes to their own schedules. An earlier start and earlier finish; a later start and later finish, or a later finish from Monday to Thursday, in return for a 12pm finish on Friday.

Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference, allowing workers to feel more in control of their working patterns.

5. Reduce stressors

As we touched upon briefly above, long commutes and a resulting lack of sleep were shown to be some of the top causes of stress for construction workers.

Traveling back and forth to the job site can consume a lot of a worker’s day. This leads to the deterioration of their work-life balance and inevitably causes stress before they’ve even made it to work.

Lodging your employees near the work site cuts down on commute times and eases concerns about finding and traveling to the location. With less time spent on unnecessary daily travel, your employees can find the time to spend on self-care and personal well-being — that includes catching up on some much-needed sleep!

Comfortable lodging is key. You’ll just need to find accommodations that provide a convenient stay in a cost-effective way for the business.

Thankfully, Hotel Engine can help.

Streamline your employee lodging process and save costs

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In addition to all the above, our exclusive platform significantly reduces costs, leaving you more budget to invest in your employees’ well-being. Check out Hotel Engine to start saving up to 60% on your business lodging today!