Work-Life Balance in the Construction Industry

CTF famille heureuse
Joanie Turmel
August 15 2022

An industry of the magnitude of construction comes with its share of challenges, including the need to achieve optimal work-life balance.

This issue has received much attention over the last few years. Indeed, the employment rate of women in the labour market has peaked, many workers are retiring, and the number of single-parent families is rising. These various demographic and sociological transformations reinforce the need to promote an excellent work-life balance and force us to rethink our work organization.

This is even more true in the construction sector, where atypical working hours are standard and numerous factors specific to each site significantly reduce the room for flexibility. 

To top it off, many trades are also at the mercy of the weather, delivery times and the subcontracting chain. The combination of these factors creates a real organizational headache for businesses and makes it harder to set up effective work-life balance initiatives.

Inadequate Work-Life Balance : Negative Impacts

A healthy work-life balance is not to be overlooked. Indeed, work-life conflict  can lead to higher absentee rates, reduced employee engagement and even a drop in productivity.

These findings are striking in the current context of labour shortages.

So, to overcome this fundamental issue, what solutions are available to organizations to accommodate construction employees’ work-life balance? 

Work-Life Balance: What Solutions are Available to you?

1) Modulation of Working Hours

Our first suggestion is to offer your employees the possibility to have more flexibility in the organization of their working hours.

Modulation of work time can take many forms and offers many advantages. For example, you can allow employees to bank their overtime hours for future use, condense work hours over four days instead of five, or vary the length of work from one week to the next.

This scheduling flexibility gives construction workers more freedom and autonomy and allows people to juggle the unexpected (daycare closing, school pedagogical day, sickness, etc.).  

But rest assured, flexible work hours do not necessarily mean extra time to process payroll! Folks HR offers standard (or project) timesheets to ensure proper tracking of hours worked. Furthermore, we provide HR and payroll software integrations!

2) Leave and Benefits for Construction Employees

Another good way to improve family-work balance is by establishing a leave and benefits plan.

Whether it’s a sick leave bank, a parental leave bonus or a floating holiday bank, the important thing is that employees can take time off when they need to. A well-thought-out leave policy reduces the risk of burnout and contributes to talent retention.

Moreover, good HR software facilitates leave requests and work time modulation. Thanks to this software, you can say goodbye to the numerous email requests for absences which are often followed by inquiries about leave balances and overtime banks.

An HRIS allows employees to access their calendar, check their leave balance in real-time and make their PTO requests directly from the platform. As for you, you will be notified of a new request, and all you will have to do is validate it!

3) Employer-sponsored Services

Workplace accommodations can also take the form of services provided by the organization. Whether it is providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or giving access to a workplace daycare, the services offered to employees are a determining factor when choosing an employer.

Indeed, industries with atypical work hours have difficulty attracting and maintaining a sufficient workforce. This is partly because many parents cannot find a childcare service whose hours of operation match their schedule. So, by offering this service at your facility, you can significantly expand your applicant database.

“Offering access to flexible measures adapted to the needs of employees in a male-dominated field opens the door to sharing family responsibilities. This is an involvement that is becoming paramount for today’s men.”

– Marianne Roberge, Partner, Employer Brand Strategy and Work-Life Balance Manager

4) Engaging in Dialogue With your Employees

Choosing the appropriate accommodation(s) for your organization is best done in collaboration with your employees. Indeed, the best sources of ideas to improve practices usually come from those who can directly benefit from them. Moreover, consulting your employees for such decisions will allow them to be heard and positively impact their job satisfaction.

Employee surveys are excellent tools for managers to dialogue with their teams. They will allow you to gather essential clues to help you improve work-life balance an HR within your construction organization.

Work is a part of people’s lives and must be integrated with the rest of their daily activities. By addressing the challenge of balancing work and personal life, you improve your workforce’s productivity and well-being and your long-term retention rate. 

Feel free to check out our page dedicated to the construction industry to learn more about our solutions!

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