Addressing Job Stress In The Construction Industry

How Construction Employees Can Cope with Stress and Anxiety

 

Workplace stress is a common occurrence. More than its damaging effect on overall company productivity, it can also be a silent killer of an employee’s physical and mental health. But how exactly are people in the job site faring?

According the a survey from Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), 68.2% of respondents from the construction industry suffered from stress, anxiety or depression. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the construction sector has the second-highest suicide rate across all industries.

The primary causes of workplace stress? Lack of feedback, poor communication, inadequate staffing, too much work, ambitious deadlines, pressure and conflicting demands.

Having all these in mind, how can construction employees deal with stress while still managing their everyday life on the job site? Here are five ways to start:

Be aware of the different stages of change

To start addressing workplace stress, Construction Executive’s article pointed out that there are different Stages of Change—a model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente in 1982. This model noted that when dealing with any kind of stress, a person will go through the following stages:

  • Precontemplation: They are unaware that there is a real problem, but they know that life is less manageable.
  • Contemplation: They start weighing the positive and negative of target behavior.
  • Preparation: The worker intends to change soon and goes forward with making these small changes.
  • Action: The point where they start to modify their behavior.
  • Maintenance: They begin to show strength and to stay on track.

Dealing with workplace stress will never be an overnight miracle. Use this as a guide and regularly check with yourself on which stage you are currently in and which stage you are working towards.

Take a break

It’s no surprise that the construction industry can also be vulnerable to work overload, especially during months when left with no choice but to rush and finish a project at the highest standard possible.

Michael Brown, deputy chief executive of the CIOB, added that some workers are hesitant to take time off because they fear being stigmatized, and that such an action would have a negative impact on their career.

While there are timelines to adhere to, pausing and going for a walk to refresh yourself can serve as a good breather after sitting on your desk or running around the job site all day.

Talk it out

The same survey from Chartered Institute of Building also showed that the commonly cited factor which assisted respondents in coping with workplace stress was support from their colleagues.

With this in mind, it’s best to be reach out to your direct supervisor or communicate with your team about your boundaries and your current situation. There are also companies that offer mental health support—something worth asking about in your own firm.

Manage interruptions in your work

While the rising bulk of work can sometimes be inevitable, you can still control which ones deserve your attention. Control the need to constantly reply to emails and evaluate which tasks should be prioritized. Chances are, some projects are more time sensitive compared to others.

Communicate with your direct supervisor or your team so you will prevent the endlessly juggling of different tasks in order to get the major project to the finish line.

Aim for quality, not perfection

Procore‘s article was able to sum up this advice nicely: “On most construction projects, there are quality standards that must be met. Learn to accept those levels of quality as your expectation of perfection.”

The success of a development relies on how well it has been built. This, however, does not mean that everything needs to be perfect because perfection is just an illusion. Be flexible, don’t beat yourself up too much when something goes wrong, and find ways to creatively address setbacks to lessen the mental load.

Stress is unavoidable in all industries, and the construction sector is no exception. Even with the expectations of quick turnaround times, project deadlines and regular meetings to align with the whole team, find the time to assess your current mental state as this will reflect in your physical wellbeing—which can ultimately affect the quality of your work and participation in the overall project.

 

 

 

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Since 1991, TCC has provided expertise in delivering successful turnkey solutions to its clients across the nation. Efficient processes and cutting-edge technology has enabled TCC to maximize client value while minimizing project pitfalls. A core team of Estimators, Project Managers and Superintendents provide guidance and support to a network of TCC Certified subcontractors. Nestled in picturesque Frederick County, MD, TCC is an active member of the community, routinely participating in local events and charity programs.

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