Construction is a traditionally a rough and tumble work environment, so any discussion about feelings and well-being might seem a bit out of place. Construction is often perceived as an industry full of tough individuals who should have no problem dealing with physical or mental health problems. The truth is that we need to focus more on the well-being of our employees regardless of what industry they are in. We need to shake off the traditional perceptions and take a more proactive approach to supporting employee well-being.
Construction workers are at higher risk of health issues
Statistically, construction workers are 100 times more likely to die from disease such as silicosis or asbestosis as a result of their job. As the construction industry continues to age, we need to ensure that employees can have long, productive careers. Construction workers are also more likely to suffer from mental health issues in addition to the physical ailments that may plague them. Nearly 16.5% percent of full-time construction workers report that they drink heavily. In addition, nearly 11.6% have utilized illicit drugs, and 14.3% were addicted to one of these substances. It is not hard to see that health of our staff is a major concern for the industry and that we need to place more focus on both their mental and physical health.
Start thinking long term
In order to reduce the amount of missed worked caused by health issues, we need to focus on reducing the instances of sickness and injuries. This can mean strengthening health and safety assessments as well as reducing exposure to key factors that cause illness. In addition, many employers are beginning to focus on health factors that are not directly related to the work. Employers should consider putting in place measures to help workers deal with non-work related issues. This can lead to improving overall health, making employees more productive and therefore generating a reasonable return on that investment. Wellness programs can also be very effective in recruiting new employees and retaining existing employees. You are demonstrating to employees that you care for them and that you are investing in their well-being. There certainly can be a financial implication of implementing such programs but they should be considered an investment in your employees.
Ensuring employee well-being is extremely important to the overall success of a company. Our employees are the reason we can complete the work and are our most valuable assets. Investing in both their physical and mental health is an important factor in improving the overall profitability and long term success of an organization.