In an industry already suffering from stress, construction businesses should be supportive environments to help staff cope with uncertain times, writes Charles Egbu.
Given the current fluidity in our political environment, especially regarding Brexit and implications for businesses, this is likely to impact on staff morale, engagement, stress and anxiety.
It is important construction leaders and managers are aware of this and put in place appropriate communication strategies and supportive environments to minimise the impact on staff. This could include counselling services, mindfulness training, flexible working or time off at work.
Many progressive construction businesses are placing workplace wellness at the core of their business, and duly recognising the importance of their staff.
“Organisations should also continuously monitor how well their initiatives are working – and celebrate the success stories – but be open to learning from other good practices.”
But others need to improve the level and quality of training and awareness initiatives that exist in the general area of mental health. This includes training and educating staff on the availability of mental health programmes and signposting – confidentially and respectfully – where they can find support.
A “coaching approach” helps to foster an environment and culture of trust and openness between managers and employees.
Staff can then speak and discuss their issues, worries and levels of stress in a supportive, confidential and respectful environment.
Organisations should also continuously monitor how well their initiatives are working – and celebrate the success stories – but be open to learning from other good practices.
The CIOB’s recently launched survey will help us understand the key mental health challenges that construction managers currently face. In particular, it will allow us to:
- Understand how mental health impacts different sectors of our industry, so we can offer targeted guidance and support.
- Learn what initiatives are in place and which are having the most impact. This can help us create useful guidance for other managers.
- Develop appropriate training and education that addresses the key issues around mental health, allowing organisations to prioritise and allocate resources effectively.
- Share good practices, case studies and useful resources for the benefit of the whole industry.
There won’t be a single solution that addresses all mental health issues, but those who share their experiences through the CIOB’s survey will help others who suffer – from day-to-day industry stresses or the increasing anxiety caused by Brexit.
Take the CIOB mental health survey here: https://mentalhealth 2019.questionpro.com
Charles Egbu is pro vice-chancellor at the University of East London and president of the CIOB
A CIOB CPD, Taking a look at Mental Health, will run on Thursday 10 October 2019, at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1E 7BT. For more information and to register, visit: https://events.ciob.org/ehome/20019269