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Combating construction industry burnout

By Linda Schwefel
February 7, 2022

onstruction work is hard. Between long, irregular hours, job insecurity, challenging work environments with extremes in temperature and exposure to the elements, wear and tear on the body, and the threat of injuries, it’s no wonder that construction workers are more at risk of burnout than any other field.

Ways to combat burnout

As the average age of construction workers continues to rise, and the interest in pursuing construction careers by young people continues to fall, it’s never been more important to address worker mental health and lessen the likelihood of burnout.  For contractors looking for ways to keep their workers burnout-free and on the job, we have a few ideas.

Lighten the load

As the saying goes, many hands make light work. Perpetually understaffed projects lead to overworked, stressed workers, ready to leave. The labor shortage is here to stay, so companies must be constantly looking to hire. Recruitment should be an ongoing corporate strategy. This approach ensures a pool of new talent is available as needed. It also reduces the time when an inadequate number of workers are left to do the job of many.

Exhausted construction worker at construction site - combating construction industry burnout

Make use of mentors

Mentorship can help the construction industry in multiple ways. In addition to serving as a powerful recruitment tool for attracting young people to construction, mentors can also be instrumental in addressing mental health concerns among workers. Mentoring through both peer-to-peer support and chaplaincy models can promote mental health as well as build skills and  hone leadership development.  Even better, the mental health benefits are not only for the mentee: mentors have been shown to have lower levels of anxiety as well as increased perception of job meaningfulness.

Go high tech

Technology that saves time and reduces errors while reducing risks and increasing safety can go a long way towards lessening worker stress. Companies using technology solutions for recordkeeping, inspections, and reporting reduce paperwork, allowing workers to focus on their core tasks. Tools like GIS mapping ensure workers’ accurate location, while digital checklists prevent process errors. Real-time communication with supervisors offers instant feedback and validation for confidence on the job.

The takeaway

In conclusion, perhaps the most sobering statistic attesting to the problem of mental health is that of suicides – in 2020, the CDC found that the suicide rate for men working in construction is about four times higher than the general population. Clearly, more needs to be done to make the construction industry safer, both physically and mentally. Taking steps to address both issues can go a long way towards keeping your workers at work, and your projects on-schedule.

Why wait?

Join the over 2,500 Fulcrum customers who have improved field inspection processes and streamlined reporting with real-time, scalable data sharing. Sign up for our free 30-day trial today!