The construction industry is turning to new technology and updating business practices to address mental health challenges that are plaguing the industry, new research finds
The Optus Business Construction Industry Pulse 2022 report, conducted by ACA Research, found 45% of construction business owners say their employees had issues with mental health and wellbeing during the first two years of the pandemic.
60% of those business decision makers said they were concerned about their own health and wellbeing, with 41% citing a lack of work-life balance as the culprit.
“Work-life balance became a real focus for many Australians during the pandemic and we’ve seen priorities change in response to lockdowns and other COVID-19 measures had on our mental health,” says David Coventry, Vice President Business and Enterprise Customers at Optus.
“The Optus Business Construction Industry Pulse 2022 reported that 35% of businesses are expecting an increase in their investment in technology over the next 12 months. This is heartening to see considering the positive impact technology can have on helping business leaders get more hours back in their day.”
More than 40% of business owners and decision makers surveyed said they were adapting work practices to ensure they minimise mental health and wellbeing issues, but a concerning 24% said they were doing nothing to manage mental health and wellbeing.
Construction firms of all sizes are planning to spend money on fairly advanced technology over the next five years, whether that’s 3D printing, drones, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, augmented and virtual reality or AI-based applications.
For 60% of the businesses serviced, technology is key to achieving their goals and strategies as a business. Technology has a large role to play also in managing finances, efficiency, suppliers and compliance, helping business owners and workers get more hours back in their day.
Chris Lockwood, National Chief Eexecutive of MATES in Construction says the charity was created by the Construction Industry to address the problem of suicide in our industry, with workers lost to suicide at six times the rate of workplace accidents and our young workers at even higher risk.
“The MATES program addresses this through evidence-based workshops and 24/7 helpline support to workers and their families: because every life saved is someone’s son, daughter, husband or father.
“Together, we’ve reduced suicide rates by 8% since the inception of MATES in 2008 and we were recognised in 2021 by World Health Organisation as Global Best Practise in Suicide Prevention.
“The Optus Business Construction Industry Pulse 2022 report highlights the mental health challenges facing workers in the construction industry. Industry working together helps to build awareness that suicide is not an individual problem, it’s bigger than that, we all have a responsibility to look out for each other on site.”
Other top outcomes achieved through technology included better engagement with employees (33%), better engagement with customers (32%) and increased revenue (30%).
For the full FY23 Optus Enterprise and Business Construction Industry Pulse, click here.