A positive work environment stems from a healthy work-life balance and supports a positive company culture. Within the construction industry, tight deadlines and strict budget requirements can make for a stressful environment for team members. Many factors can have major influences on employee health and organisational effectiveness, such as long working hours and the safety risks that come alongside building and construction work.
Statistics on the construction industry state that around 3.4% of construction workers suffered from work-related ill-health, which is higher than the national average across all industries and equates to around two million missed working days. Interestingly, most cases that resulted in time off work (81%) were due to illness rather than injury with stress, depression, and anxiety seen as key contributing factors. 

Improving the work-life balance in your business

If you are noticing poor attraction, retention, and productivity in your business, it is important to understand how to improve this. With the challenges facing the UK construction industry, such as the widely reported housing crisis and construction skills shortage among other factors, competition for and retaining the best talent in the market has never been higher.
Over recent years, the needs of employees have shifted from that of previous generations, with a larger emphasis placed on the quality of life and work-life balance rather than salary. Whilst financial remuneration continues to be a key driver, it is now employee benefits that often take centre stage. 
A healthy work-life balance has also been shown to have a major impact on productivity. People who feel they have some flexibility in how they do their tasks and take care of their home and life responsibilities respond proactively and reciprocate this through increased commitment and productivity. This is also evident in the emergence of the four-day working week, which has been championed by the Labour party and trialled at Microsoft and has been shown to boost productivity by up to 40%.

The difficulties that property and construction businesses are facing

Property and construction organisations have been known to suffer from poor work-life balance in comparison to other industries. However, the industry has seen changes in recent years and is adapting to improve work-life balance. From innovative digital technology (including BIM, data analytics, and smart system technologies) being introduced allowing for more remote working, the emergence of AI and drone technology impacting time spend and health and safety, to the growing use of project management software.
Organisations are beginning to place more emphasis on their employees' physical and mental wellbeing. Offering better benefits packages and bringing in programmes to help employees suffering from mental health issues and addressing the stigma of poor mental health across the industry. 

Pushing a better work-life balance

Promoting a positive work-life balance is crucial to ensuring that your new initiatives are known and adopted across the business. Here are some ways that you can begin to push for a better work-life balance within your business.
  1. View it has high importance. Making it known that you are making changes and you want the wider teams to incorporate this into their normal life, is crucial.
  2. Show trust in your staff to work best wherever they are. Not only are people more engaged when they feel that they are trusted, but it will be counterproductive if offering flexible working comes across as a settlement rather than a benefit. 
  3. Allow the senior members of the business and managers to lead by example. 
     
To improve the work-life balance within your organisation, speak with your employees openly and honestly about your current stance and your future efforts to improve the culture. Letting them know that you are making changes may help them to see a long-term future with you. 
A better work-life balance means different things to different people. So, offering a one size fits all approach does not have the desired effect in most cases. Learn what they want from a better work-life balance, and this should fuel your plans to improve the company culture.
If you are looking to hire top talent for your property and construction business, please get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today for a confidential discussion. Alternatively, if you are looking for a new opportunity within the industry, create a MyPage account today to see our available vacancies.
Aled Jones
Manager, Michael Page Property & Construction