Regardless of your position in the site hierarchy, there is nothing more frustrating than finding that your construction workers are falling behind schedule and that their productivity levels seem to be plummeting.
Feeling like you are totally powerless might be one way of looking at it; however, in reality, you could hold the key or be able to turn this issue around and make it well and truly a thing of the past.
Keep morale high
As with all workplaces, not just those in construction, the morale of workers has to be high in order for them to be at their most productive. If you are starting with a workforce whose morale is dragging along the floor, you may have a tough job ahead of you, but with persistence, this, too, can be turned around so any projects you have running can be conducted in an efficient and safe manner.
For instance, letting your workers know that you value them as a whole and as individuals can make a huge impact on how they feel about work and about you. Saying thank you for their hard work at the end of a hard week may make a subtle difference, which you will see over time can improve the overall performance of your workers. However, you will need to do more than this to see a significant boost.
This may mean that you will have to organise evenings out or fun events on a weekend day, such as a hog roast, which your construction workers will be able to attend with their immediate families and get to know each other better. Forming friendships at work can be a major plus to the morale felt in any working condition as it incorporates trust and comradeship.
Pay attention to health and safety
Particularly in construction, you should always pay attention to all the health and safety aspects of your site. Employees who do not feel safe at work are rarely happy about being there. It is your responsibility to provide your workers with the correct safety equipment and clothing and ensure that they use it while they are on site.
You will need to ensure that you have all the relevant insurance in place and are fully able to support a worker if they have an accident and suffer an injury. If there is a fatality on your site, you will need to make sure you can help the family left behind. However, it is far better to ensure that you have everything in place to limit this outcome altogether. In short, cutting corners on health and safety will lower your employee’s morale and make them less inclined to be productive.
Provide your workers with quality accommodation
Of course, accidents don’t just happen due to employer or employee negligence. It could be that your workers have a long or stressful journey to your construction site and are therefore worn out and overly tired before they have started the day’s work. Construction work is exceptionally physical, and they will have to be in tip-top form and well-rested before they start work. You could help make sure that this is the case.
For long-term building projects that are scheduled out of your local area, you could provide your workers with well-equipped, clean accommodations for them to use, like those properties found via the Comfy Workers website. This could provide your workforce with the ability to work that much faster or at least get better quality of work done in a day and move your project closer to its conclusion with fewer issues or rework.
Understand the benefits of rest periods
Providing your workforce with accommodation nearby will inevitably help them get enough valuable rest when the working day is over. However, you should also make sure that they can get time to sit down during their work time so they do not end up suffering from burnout or having to take time off sick due to physical exhaustion.
As already mentioned briefly, construction work is a highly physical job. In order to get additional motivation and productivity from your workers, providing them with regular tea breaks – even if it is disguised as an informal chat – to go over project strategies and schedules with tea and biscuits is likely to be highly beneficial.
Hold regular meetings
Informal chats are great, but you should also hold regular meetings with your plumbers, electricians, and other skilled workers to pass on instructions and make them aware of pending deadlines or additional jobs that have arisen. Keeping all the trades in the informational loop can help with their productivity levels as they will feel more involved and understand their own role within the bigger picture.
You may find that introducing a new member of the workforce (even if their presence is going to be short-lived) the morning of their start will help your workers gel and, therefore, work far better together. Again, you should hold meetings at the end of each day to say thanks to your workers and give your workers a heads up on what is on the books for the next day so when they come on-site, they are ready and prepared for the workload ahead of them.
Hire the right equipment for each job
You should ensure that you have all of the necessary tools and equipment (and enough of each) for everyone to use as and when they require it. You should ensure that it is fit for purpose and charged, if rechargeable, for each day’s work. This means that you should not just rely on your workforce to place these items in the appropriate charging unit but actually check yourself to ensure that this job has been done.
If you are hiring the equipment from a local store, you need to make sure it has been well maintained and have your workers notify you should any piece malfunction or not fit for purpose so it can be replaced quickly to eliminate downtime within your site. Making and doing with poor quality equipment or that which is not working properly will not just slow down your workers, it will also damage morale on site, so it is important to get this part of your construction project organised.