As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt ordinary life, few places is that disruption being felt more keenly than the workplace. Though the construction industry is still reporting to job sites in most states, uncertainty abounds, whether it is concern over continued economic security or fear that the person working next to you is going to get you sick. Even when it isn’t immediately apparent, that fear can erode the sense of wellbeing among a crew, staffing experts are saying, and leaders need to develop a multifaceted approach to addressing those underlying worries before they have a chance to manifest as problems.
In an article it published titled “How to Help Your Employees Cope with the Stress of COVID-19,” Construction Business Owner sought the advice of Car Beyer, vice president of workforce risk and mental well-being for construction insurance firm Cobb Strecker Dunphy Zimmerman. According to the article, nearly 70 percent of those who responded to a survey at the onset of the pandemic said that anxiety among workers was the most prominent issue the industry was facing.
The tumbling economy, family worries and fear of job loss are all potential stressors for even those still going to work every day, Beyer indicates. But for construction workers in particular, losing the social aspects of their daily routine due to new distancing rules creates isolation on the job that can have a negative impact on any employee and especially those who may struggle with underlying mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety. Aside from the personal hardships that might create, safety professionals are concerned about the disruptions and distractions of COVID-19 leading to more workplace accidents and injuries, Beyer explains.
There are a number of strategies leaders can employ to confront the anxiety of workers head-on, Beyer says in the article. Included among them are holistic communication plans that convey empathy, solidarity and support. Also important is for the company to advocate a series of stress reduction strategies, which could be everything from stress management tips via email to providing telehealth services to placing suicide prevention posters in the workplace.
To learn more about the ripple effect of COVID-19 on construction crews and read more strategies for mitigating them, read the whole Construction Business Owner article HERE.