Working on a building site is a somewhat challenging experience. Not only is the work extremely demanding and physical, but sometimes the weather conditions can be incredibly harsh too.
Looking after your employees in these circumstances might be harder than if they were, say, office workers, but caring for them in the right way and making sure the following steps are put in place are of paramount importance if you want to make their well-being a priority.
Make sure you encourage them to talk
Communication is everything, and the need for humans to open up and share their stories with the rest of the world has long been confirmed. Our minds store so many emotions and thoughts that unbottling these and talking about how we are feeling from time to time is a key part of being human. Your employees will mainly be men if they are building site workers and it is also a well-known fact that men tend to share emotion-based thoughts to a lesser extent than women do. As a result of this, get your employees to talk. Organise one-to-one sessions where you can have informal conversations about their lives and what is bothering them at present. Arrange group seminars also in which you can talk about ideas on a broader scale and discuss feelings and what these mean to them by separating them into groups for the exercise. If you are unsure of how to make your employees be more open about themselves, contact the American Psychological Association and ask if they could help you find work coaches who could engage your workers further.
Protect them from the evils of the trade
The construction industry is the area with the highest rates of occupational cancer. Exposures to toxic materials in the job have resulted in many cancer cases and deaths. The number of buildings in the US with harmful asbestos materials is still incredibly high and as a result, you and your team should take extreme precaution when working at any building site. Furthermore, asbestos is still used in the US and this is why protecting your health is of paramount importance in the trade. The use of asbestos began in the 19th century, when this started being used in the construction industry for the material’s heat-resistant, sound-proofing and affordable properties. Its use continued to be widespread until health concerns surfaced. Experts warned that inhaling it for long amounts of time led to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. With this Asbestos Management Plan you too can protect your workers from developing any asbestos-related illnesses.
Give them enough time off work
The demands of the job are, as we discussed, extremely high at a building site. The work is physical and the weather conditions can make the job harder, specially if these are too hot or cold. A building site worker needs enough time off work to recuperate from the hard working week, perhaps more so than an office worker. It is important that as part of your discussions with them, highlighted above, you talk about their work-life balance needs and consider these when giving them time off work. Take into consideration also aspects like age and health when deciding on the amount of work you will offer a particular employee, as not everyone has the same strength levels or medical history. This paper looks at the work-life balance of construction management professionals and it will help you formulate ideas that you could then share with your employees at your individual or group meetings.
Equip them properly for the job
Whilst skill and experience are what will protect your employees at work the most, and that is why you should have a skilled and experienced workforce, investing in the right clothing and working gear is also a good idea when thinking about your employees’ well being. Solid boots, thick pants, warm jackets...this is what you want to be providing your workers with so that they do a better job. With long-established companies like Timberland and Carhartt being some of the largest producers of construction gear around the world, you too could ensure your workers are protected and their chances of injury are lower. Have a look at this website and see if any of the items on there could be of interest to you and your workforce.
Arrange fun activities from time to time for them to take part in
Christmas dinner, anyone? What about an Easter trip to a seaside town? Employee morale is key for the success of your business as this is described as being satisfied and feeling positive about the job. Many factors contribute to a worker’s positive outlook on their workplace, and taking part in fun activities from time to time is definitely one of them. The long hours individuals spend in the workplace in the construction industry means often, these don’t have much time to sit back, relax and enjoy the times of leisure that life also has to offer. Whilst you don’t have to plan something that is expensive and difficult to organise (it could be as simple as suggesting a trip to the seaside), it might be good for you to come up with a day-long trip or even long weekend journey in which your employees can let go of their daily responsibilities and be free from their routines. This is why a change of scenery might be a good idea. Learn more about rewarding your staff.
Now you have learned about looking after your employees’ well being in the workplace, start by putting a plan in place and make sure you follow it through. Having a happy workforce is the most rewarding and healthiest way to work, as your employees will be motivated and happy, and this automatically reduces the likelihood of your workers suffering from mental health problems and injuring themselves. Grab a pen and paper and start making your workplace the happiest and safest place to work.