We have previously discussed mental health concerns in the construction industry, but this is an essential issue that must be addressed. The kind of work that requires IPAF training will end up taking people far and wide, well beyond Tyne and Wear, sometimes for weeks or possibly even months at a time. As a result, the unconditional love of family and friends, and the familiarity of home can feel very distant when working in construction and other associated sectors.
For many adults, the workplace is the primary environment where new friendships are forged – and the construction sector is no exception. But how can we create the kind of supportive bonds that will help construction workers withstand the mental health difficulties present in this sector?
Organising Social Occasions
While this may seem like the obvious first step, you might be surprised by the number of employers who overlook the importance of organising social occasions for their employees.
If we want mental health to be a priority, we need to start putting in the effort, resources, and responsibility necessary to make sure it remains at the forefront of people’s minds. And, after all, what better way to promote positive mental health than through encouraging employees to build a support network of friendly, like-minded individuals?
Team Building Events
The value of team building events for the construction sector lies in the ability to have people working together without the immediate pressure to succeed. Instead, the goal can be much more social – people can relax, play games, and generally have fun.
By encouraging an open, positive environment outside of the usual workplace, bonds can be more easily formed and connections grown. While social events can achieve this in an unstructured way, team building activities will help in a much more formulated and often unorthodox environment.
While this idea may not be applicable to every team, it can be highly effective for others. Where possible, collect groups within the broader team into sub-groups who can work together on specific tasks more closely. Forging bonds and building camaraderie in the group as a whole is a valuable task, but to create deeper, longer-lasting bonds, you need a more direct and intimate group. Give these connections time to grow, and people will forge their own connections that can be relied upon in the face of difficulty.
Don’t Talk So Tough
For many, workplace banter and conversation is a natural part of the environment. Sometimes, though, we can be too quick to clamp down on any form of chat in the name of productivity. However, while there is obviously a limit, letting the talk flow more freely could be just what is needed to help friendships thrive and allow the kind of connections that employees need to be ready to deal with the bigger issues and questions.
Mental health in the construction industry is undoubtedly a complex problem, but these kinds of positive moves are exactly the steps that are needed.