Mind over Matter: Building Mental Health In The Construction Industry
Health and Wellness among the U.A.E has taken top priority due to current covid-19 precautions. However, many are taking this a step further to encourage not only physical health care, but also mental health. Recent studies have reported that physical and mental wellness is now 80 percent more important than ever among U.A.E businesses in the corporate sector.
The construction sector in particular, is often associated with a long line of health problems caused mainly due to psychological stress-induced factors. Due to industry requirements, workers are often expected to dedicate long-hours, away from home for indefinite periods.
As majority of the workforce in the industry are predominantly male, the statistics have shown alarming numbers when it comes to mental health concerns within males. With suicide rates among men in the sector being the highest, world-wide; it is essential to take this into account and be more cautious during the current crisis.
What can you do?
One of the first signs of struggle is unproductivity. By implementing transparency and communicating effectively with workers and employees, warning signs can be detected from early stages. When an employee’s displays signs of emotional struggle, it is important to encourage seeking help. Some of the main warning signs to keep in mind are: increased absenteeism, lack of self-confidence and a general isolation from peers. Unfortunately, when it comes to their emotions and mental health, the workforce especially male counterparts, in this particular industry are reluctant to communicate their concerns. For this reason, team leaders in particular, must have sufficient knowledge and awareness to spot warning signs and encourage a change in mindset and aid in their betterment.
For every work environmental it is essential to provide an outlet for employees to socialize, voice their concerns and be part of a healthier environment. Statistics have reported that nearly 1 in 5 employees in the construction sector suffer from depression. Often times, isolation and feelings of dissociation make symptoms of mental health insufferable. By providing a safe space by setting up consistent staff meetings and team activities the organization can help make a difference. With the right amount of peer-support and guidance, the organization may also be able to reduce stigma in matters of mental health and achieve a change in attitudes.
Employees, especially frontline workers are not given enough credit for their dedication and willfulness. Unpredictability wreaks havoc on the mind. More so now than ever, it is important to provide recognition to employees who have stayed consistent to their responsibilities despite the outcome of current events. Investing in employee benefits such as incentives, fringe benefits and over-time pay are only some of the basic grounds covered to achieve employee satisfaction.
Part of running an established firm or organization, is to also keep in mind health and safety. An effective way to take this a step further, is to implement an in-house counselor, or give employees access to local counseling services with insurance coverage. Many lack the ability to successfully engage in healthy coping strategies for stress, anxiety and depression. By introducing interventions on a regular basis, with the help of a professional, implementing a compressed work-week and encouraging a healthy work-life balance is vital to the process.