Staff wellbeing has become a point of focus for businesses in all manner of industries, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Looking after staff wellness can have knock-on effects on productivity and morale, but the moral responsibility is more important by far – in construction particularly, where the majority of workers are men, for whom mental health discussions have been stigmatised.
The Importance of Physical and Mental Wellbeing
The assurance of a safe and manageable work environment has ramifications for more than immediate worker health and safety. According to Mind, more than one in five people have called in sick due to a feeling stressed about work – and 42% have even considered resigning.So, what can you as an employer do to make the workplace a less stressful place?
How can you ensure that employees feel safe and comfortable on-site, and engaged the moment they start work?
Health and Safety
The main gateway to fostering trust and comfort in your on-site employees is through health and safety. Construction sites are dangerous places, and if a team does not feel protected – whether by workplace processes or by adequate equipment – they are more likely to feel stressed about their job.
Not only can an inability to provide robust health and safety prove potentially injurious to your staff, but it can also have a significant knock-on effect on productivity.
The provision of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is a legal requirement for every workplace. However, providing high-quality PPE including safety glasses and other forms of workwear can help workers feel safer, in comparison to settling for the cheapest protective items.
Transparent health and safety processes can also help workers feel safe and protected, especially where the route to reporting potential issues is clear and free of ramifications.
Important as physical wellbeing is, especially on active worksites, mental wellbeing is an oft-overlooked aspect to employee health that can have devastating consequences for both the employee and the business.
We’ve already encountered the effects that workplace stress can have on employee contentment, and the knock-on effects on productivity. But stress isn’t merely caused by physical safety factors.
There are a number of ways in which the work environment can contribute to stress, including management processes and access to amenities. Ensuring workers are well looked-after can reduce their stress levels, and also give them the courage to speak up if they feel their performance is suffering due to poor mental wellbeing.
As a bare minimum, you should be providing water and hot drinks on site, as well as a dedicated break area to sit in.
Speaking of breaks, workers have the legal right to an uninterrupted 20-minute break if their shift is longer than six hours. However, employers must also provide additional breaks if the work is monotonous, to ensure health and safety isn’t compromised. Leniency regarding break length and volume can ensure workers remain safe and happy and reduce the pressure they experience.