The past year has been incredibly hard for workers across every industry. Worrying about a global pandemic is one thing, but it is particularly hard when you are not able to do your work from home. Construction workers may have additional concerns about job security or finances, not to mention the fear of contracting the disease while on the worksite.
This fear can make it difficult to focus on the job, and our quality of work might suffer. It can also lead to mental health issues, like anxiety and depression. This, in turn, can lead to problems with substance abuse, and even suicide.
One question HR professionals in the construction industry are currently asking: Just how far should workplace health and safety go?
Many believe that any programs should include mental health. In addition to the additional pressures and stress of the coronavirus, workers in the construction industry may be more likely to suffer in this area. The goal should be to help employees overall adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles, which (it should be mentioned) will also help the company’s bottom line in the long run.
So, what does this look like?
Early check-ins and prevention
Some construction companies have started doing mental health screenings intermittently that can help individuals evaluate how they are doing in this area. Based on their answers, they might receive certain recommendations for the next steps or resources. This does not have to be particularly formal; you can encourage managers to have open conversations with team members individually. Just make sure to reiterate that these are private and confidential.
If you have the resources, your team could greatly benefit from meeting with specialists to discuss their personal health and wellbeing. Everyone is different, so what works for one person might not necessarily be best for another; by speaking with nutritionists, dieticians, or personal trainers, your employees can learn about what will work best for their body and circumstances.
You can also support your employees’ health by making it a clear focus of your benefits package. This could include things like a gym membership or access to mental health professionals. In the office, you may want to launch team challenges – for example, reaching a certain number of steps or weight loss. If your team succeeds, there should be a group prize. This can help create a culture of health amongst employees.