The building trade is often associated with hard work and a ‘can-do’ attitude – always getting the job done, come rain or shine. As a boss this can make it difficult to stop and think about the mental health of your workers. However, with a huge 1 in 4 people affected by mental illness at a cost to the UK economy of £10.6 billion a year, it’s clear that something needs to be done, and quickly.
At Jewson, we are trying to combat these statistics and are embracing positive mental wellbeing. Our recent investment into AXA Healthcare has allowed us to develop our own Proactive Health Gateway. Having a safe place for our employees to submit their health information has achieved some fantastic results. Since starting this project, we’ve carried out 5,000 physical health assessments – reducing 1,500 health risks and making our employees 2,100 years “younger”.
We’ve done this by making a few simple changes – changes we think can help small business owners too.
SET GOALS AND STICK TO THEM
As the owner or lead figure of a business, it’s your duty to take control on mental health. Set strict but achievable goals and make sure you talk about these with your team.
Everyone should know how they can raise any issues – either formally or informally, and it’s always good to plan some social stuff to help build your team off site too. By doing this, it will also help you understand your employees on a more personal level which may help you spot any underlying issues that you could help with.
If you’re worried there might be something going on, ask open questions so you can understand what’s troubling or stressing them out, and how you as their boss might be able to help. Just asking someone how they’re feeling and being ready to listen to what they have to say is a really important starting point.
KEEP IT UP AND LEAD FROM THE FRONT
Talking about mental health isn’t a one off, or box you can tick – it’s something you should keep in mind every day.
But it can help by building in some milestones where you talk to your team about how things are going. Maybe it’s at the end of every job or just put a reminder in your diary to have a chat to different member of your team when you’ve got some time alone. Perhaps bring them along on a trip to Jewson!
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO IT ALONE
It can be hard to know how to deal with mental health issues, especially if it’s not something you naturally feel comfortable talking about and no one person deals with mental illness in the same way. From anxiety to depression, schizophrenia to bipolar disorder, these are complex conditions.
But there are lots of things out there that can help. Doing some research in these areas will help your understanding of how to correctly respond to anyone that is struggling. Nobody expects you to be able to jump in and solve everyone’s problems, but sharing resources like helpful contact numbers or websites will massively help.
Over the years, Jewson has worked closely with Mates in Mind – a charity which dedicates itself to improving mental health in the construction industry. From having a stand at Jewson Live 2018 and 2019, to following their advice, they have lots of knowledge for the construction industry to take on board. They’re definitely one to check out.
CATCH THE Zs
A lack of sleep is can have a massive impact on our health. We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, so we might as well make it as productive as possible! A staggering 200,000 working days are lost every year as a result of insufficient sleep – we’ll let you work out what that might be costing you in labour…
Encourage all your workers to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night as much as possible. You can help by keeping the Whatsapps to a minimum after 9pm, but simply talking about these things can make people realise just how important things like sleep are for your physical and mental health.
PUT YOUR HEALTH FIRST
It may be the most basic of rules, but making sure that your employees are physically fit will also help their mental health and productivity. While it’s a physical job (for most people), healthy eating and drinking lots of water helps too. Ticking these boxes will mean that everyone has the best chance of improving their mental health and wellbeing.
Tackling mental health in the workplace won’t be achieved overnight, but making even the smallest change will be an improvement and starting somewhere is the most important thing of all.
For more information on mental health in the workplace, follow these links:
You can also read more here: