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A healthy agenda

As the construction industry gets set to enjoy its post-election bounce, we, along with all other sectors, have to continue to put the health and well being of our staff at the heart of our agenda. We're only as good as our workforce and a happy and healthy team, naturally, performs best.

Stress has become prevalent in the modern workplace. Last year's Britain's Healthiest Company awards revealed that 87 per cent of employees surveyed had reported work-related stress while the Centre for Mental Health claims that stress costs UK employers in the region of £26 billion a year.

A healthy workforce is a company's best asset and that's why any initiative that could, potentially, impact positively on staff wellbeing - and general happiness - should never be overlooked or dismissed.

It's universally accepted that the actual workplace itself - from office layout to ventilation, sunlight, furniture and colour schemes - plays a part in the well being of the staff that work there. Top of the agenda for any company should be to take a long, hard look at the working surrounds and the basic facilities. Is this a pleasant place to spend the majority of your waking hours and is there room for improvement?

It's no accident that the big, universally recognized as forward thinking, US companies like Apple and Facebook invest so much in creating fun and dynamic, attractive surrounds. These companies recognize the correlation between the output and the office environment and are keen to present spaces that are both nurturing and vital.

Moving on from the surroundings, it's then time to look at the work and life balance. It's one of the top motivational factors for most employees. Time is incredibly precious. Whether it is time to be taken with family and friends or time to dedicate to leisure or learning pursuits, we could all do with a little more of it.

Surveying employees is a great way of finding out where the need lies. If you want to know what would make your employees happier, ask them ! For example, it could be that working flexibly for part of the week might benefit some staff - those who have young children who need taking to school, for instance.

If it doesn't impact on client relationships, offering employees the opportunity to come in later, and then stay later, on certain elected days is a great way of giving them a boost and taking some of the pressure off their day-to-day living and time management.

Similarly, having a discretionary working from home policy is a real bonus for members of the team who are expecting significant deliveries or who may need to wait in for services providers, not to mention those who would simply welcome an occasional break from the schlep through rush hour.

Finally, if you have the budget for it, engage in some team building. Remind employees of why they wanted to come and work for you in the first place and spend some quality time together. It doesn't have to be specifically work related - a day out at the races or an afternoon bowling or go-karting will do just as well. If you can't afford the time out, money behind the bar on a Friday night or drinks in the office half an hour before close of play usually gets met with a happy smile. Cheers !


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