Construction is undeniably a labor-intensive sector, and as such, it is important to keep employee morale high in order to obtain optimal performance. It is no secret that construction sites are notoriously dangerous. On the jobsite there is a lot dangerous machinery being used, and an even more dangerous environment. While construction professionals are all too aware of the physical dangers & possibility of accidents occurring, it’s weirdly enough the little things tend to decrease morale & make for an unhappy workforce. Today’s construction professionals believe that wellbeing goes beyond looking out for their safety, but that owners should promote a healthy work environment, while taking into consideration their mental outlook & hygiene. The Rose Group: Development and Construction, in their article How to Keep a Happy and Healthy Workforce, dug deeper into how owners could keep their jobsites safe to their employees standards.The following are their findings:
Sickness in the workplace: The construction industry is taxing on both mind and body, so there will inevitably be a few days when your staff feels unfit for work, particularly in the colder months as our immune systems are put under more pressure. Always make sure your staff feels comfortable enough to approach you regarding issues such as sickness and taking time away from work. Staff working whilst suffering from ill health can become a liability and in the long run, they could end up costing you more money. Studies have shown that it costs employers twice as much in productivity losses when staff work while suffering from illness, rather than staying at home. Not only will they be slower at their work, in theory they will take longer to recover, and the tasks will take even longer to complete.
Workload expectations: Are you expecting too much from your employees? Working in construction, there are plenty of things that can hold up the job. Whether it’s late delivery of materials or unexpected planning failures, you should take these into consideration when estimating the amount of time a job will take. If you expect a project to meet the expected deadline regardless of unexpected occurrences, you may be putting too much pressure on your workforce. Keep a good level of communication with them to ensure you’re up to date on progress, rather than assuming they will finish the job on time. Keeping in touch will ensure you can relay the message to your client and explain why the project has been held up.
Temporary Facilities: Depending on the scale of your project, the list of requirements for onsite facilities will differ, but the basic requirements include: running water, toilets and washing facilities, somewhere to store personal items/dry clothing, and a place to prepare and consume food. If your staff requires decontamination at the end of their shift, you will need to provide adequate showering facilities for them. It is imperative that you provide this option to quell harmful bacteria spreading beyond the workplace. Not to mention the drop in morale levels if these facilities are not put in place, any workplace found to be disregarding the laws on facilities will be heavily fined by the authorities.
Building employee rapport: Treating your employees with respect should be a basic requirement for any workplace. Get to know your employees and show genuine concern for their wellbeing. If any future issues arise in the workplace, or personal issues affecting their output occur, they’ll feel comfortable enough to approach you to discuss them and find a way of dealing with them.
Encourage good practices: Ensure that everyone takes responsibility for themselves, but also promote teamwork within the workplace. Better teamwork and communication between staff onsite will ensure the project is completed in good time and to a great standard. Encouraging these elements of good practice helps to share the burden of operating a smooth running working environment.
Waste disposal: As you chip away at the workload, scrap materials inevitably begin to clog up the site. Not only are these an obvious hazard, they also hold up the flow of work when vehicles have to avoid them. Ensure that when your waste skips are full, you promptly remove them from the site or schedule a weekly third party service to do the work for you.
With the most likely case being that you’ll be working outdoors, you must ensure that the offensive waste produced in onsite facilities is also regularly removed and the facilities themselves are cleaned. It is your responsibility to keep the place clean. You cannot just simply supply the facilities and leave your staff to it, if you don’t take care of them, they won’t feel comfortable using them.