Mental health is a serious problem in the construction industry, but not enough people are talking about it.
Numerous studies demonstrate the high rates of depression, anxiety, burnout, and stress in the industry which all contribute to the elevated rate of suicide in construction compared to other industries. Those studies also show that construction workers are less likely than others to report mental health struggles to their employers.
It falls, then, to employers to be proactive in managing the mental health of their employees. “Investing in employee’s wellbeing is something that should be top of mind for all organizations across the industry,” assert WTW’s Jonathan Oppenheim and Erin Young.
Some small steps construction industry employers can take to make a big difference on employee mental health on the job site include: establishing trust, fostering community, and prioritizing stress management. Construction project management software, like eSUB, can help you accomplish all of these.
Step No. 1: Establish Trust Between All Project Stakeholders
Trust is the lynchpin in successful construction projects. Everyone must trust everyone else to do their jobs correctly, on time, and on budget. They also have to know the information they are working with is accurate and up-to-date so they can make informed decisions.
The difficulty is that trust doesn’t come naturally; it must be established and nurtured. The vital elements to create trust among team members are communication and collaboration.
To form trusting relationships, “open communication needs to be established at the very beginning, with all parties actively engaging with each other toward collaborative problem-solving,” writes the team at Bluewater Builders.
Construction project management software streamlines communication and facilitates collaboration by making it easy for team members to input and track real-time information about projects. Everybody has access to the same information which helps reduce errors, delays, misinformation, and confusion.
That high level of transparency helps eliminate doubts and solidifies trust which contributes to stronger, more productive teams.
Step No. 2: Foster a Sense of Team on the Job Site
Teamwork is key to any successful project. Everyone must work together to bring a project to completion, but it isn’t easy to create a sense of team when workers are dispersed to multiple job sites. Communication is the critical component to bringing workers together and fostering a sense of team even when workers aren’t working side-by-side.
“Effective communication and cooperation are vital to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal,” writes the Utilities One team.
Cloud-based construction project management software can help you build more cohesive teams by keeping everyone connected no matter where they are working at any given time. The app can be used on any device and team members can upload information and sync to the cloud so everybody has the most up-to-date project information.
When you can’t bring everyone together around the conference room table to walk through projects and build trust and camaraderie, the software enables teams to stay connected.
Step No. 3: Prioritize Stress Management for All Workers
Construction sites are high-stress environments. While the physical and mental demands of the job add the most to construction worker stress, the culture of the company they work for also plays a role, notes KHL Group Senior Editor Neil Gerrard.
That’s why you need to create a culture that emphasizes the importance of managing stress and addressing mental health. One way you can help build that culture is by adopting digital tools that make things easier on your field teams.
With the right software, your teams can get home quicker at the end of the day because they can submit their field reports from anywhere. They also don’t have to spend so much time searching out the most up-to-date documents when they are centrally located and always accessible. These are small capabilities that can make a big difference in the stress levels of workers.
Efforts to improve mental health don’t only benefit your employees; they can also benefit the company’s bottom line. The American Psychological Association’s 2023 Work in America survey reveals that 20 percent of workers suffer lower productivity at work because of the negative impacts of workplace stress. So, protecting their mental health means increasing their productivity. Essentially, it’s a win-win for everyone when mental health is a priority.
Schedule a demo of eSUB Cloud today to learn more about how the software can help you start on the journey of establishing trust, building more cohesive teams, and managing stress on job sites in order to protect your employees’ mental health.
Images used under license from Shutterstock.com.