Ever feel like you’ve living in a brain fog after working all day on the computer? If you do, you’re not alone. Job burnout is a concern worldwide, and it can manifest itself in low energy levels, reduced effectiveness on the job and downright exhaustion. To complicate matters, the isolation that’s been foisted upon employees recently has left many in serious need of human to human interaction, rather than seemingly endless computer meetings.
And it’s certainly not just computer work that leaves us in a fog. Every job carries with it a certain amount of stress. For some, the pressure is always on.
When burnout threatens, employees need to take time to unplug, get enough sleep and exercise. Health on the job is critical, and for many it’s been a real challenge to bring their “whole self” to work.
Dedicated employees know they need to hit it hard when deadlines are looming. But it’s just as important that they get to celebrate when milestones are reached. Recognizing people’s accomplishments is a significant function of leadership. Employees need to have a sense of purpose in their job, and they need feedback to develop that. We perform better when we’re attuned to the needs of our team and can focus on doing a good job. Trust among team members is important, and employees need to know there is a safe space for them to resolve psychological and personal issues.
After all, at the end of the day, we’re human beings.
Since we are human, the mental health of workers is on a continuum. That health can be challenged every day, resulting in anxiety, depression and trauma. The AEC industry – construction projects in particular – are stressful places, with demanding schedules, all manner of risk, dangerous tasks, a wide range of sometimes-divergent personalities, with unforgiving events when someone isn’t clear-headed on the job. Down through history, people in the construction industry have been known for being stoic. However, that characteristic hasn’t served all of them equally well.
Today there’s a growing movement within companies to raise awareness and address mental health issues. Every worker is valuable in a company’s quest to reach optimal productivity. In recognition of that, more and more companies are providing employees with company-wide as well as individualized tools to deal with situations before they reach potential burnout. These types of initiatives show a company’s commitment to the wellbeing of its workers, and healthy, productive workers are ultimately good for a company’s bottom line.
Tune into episode 86 of Bridging the Gap podcast, where I had a chance to talk with Darcy Gruttadaro about what’s happening in the industry around mental health on the job.