Wates offers resilience training to 4,000 employees

Wates Group staff (Image courtesy of Wates Group)

Wates is to offer 4,000 employees training to help them build personal resilience to boost their mental health and wellbeing.

The move, announced during Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May), is part of a business-wide post-pandemic wellbeing programme called ‘Bouncing Back’.

It was prompted in part by a 2020 Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) survey which found that 26% of construction industry professionals had thought about taking their own lives in 2019, and 97% recorded being stressed at least once in the last year. Meanwhile, 70% had experienced depression and 87% reported experiencing anxiety.

The training will begin in June and will be delivered by Wates’ employee mental health partner Everymind at Work.

It will provide staff with strategies to improve their personal resilience and help to build a resilience ‘toolkit’ of approaches they can follow to help manage pressures and stress at both work and home.

Comprised of a mixture of in-person or virtual workshops and online learning resources, and followed up with a six-week check-in on every participant, the training will allow colleagues to recognise their own stress triggers and cope with stress more effectively. It also aims to help them to develop a positive mindset that avoids being overwhelmed by issues when they arise, better manage their emotions, and those of people around them and bounce back when times are difficult.

The Bouncing Back programme aims to:

  • reduce the number of absences due to work-related stress
  • ensure that all workplaces impact positively on employees’ wellbeing
  • ensure that every employee feels supported to achieve a fair work life balance.

Kelly Osborne, head of health and wellbeing at Wates Group said: “We care about the health and wellbeing of our people. Ours is an industry with a lifestyle that can be challenging and stressful, with long and demanding hours, and with many often working away from home on site for weeks.

“The pressures of managing covid-19 have increased the stress levels and the pressure on our mental health is immense. But even before covid-19 struck, mental health in our industry was a major concern. Male construction workers are nearly three times more likely than others to take their own life, with one suicide every day. This has been an incredibly tough year for so many of our colleagues, and we want to support everyone, so they feel better equipped to manage setbacks and stress in their lives confidently and effectively, and thereby help protect their mental health.” ​​

Paul McGregor, founder of Everymind at Work, said: “Mental health is a real issue within the workplace currently, with businesses still being afraid to tackle it head on in a proactive way and waiting until an issue arises before they do anything about it. Construction is an industry known for its high suicide rates and lack of mental health support, so businesses in this sector need to do more than the ‘norm’. It’s great to see an organisation like Wates taking the mental health of its colleagues seriously.”

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