Research shows 24/7 wellbeing facility helped to improve construction workers’ mental health and wellbeing
A year after its launch, in collaboration with the University of Warwick, the initiative has identified significantly lower anxiety levels, associated with use of the facility.
The Health Hub was designed to help tackle the issue of poor mental health in construction and to provide a working example of the tools and measures required to make a difference.
National Grid worked with the WMG research centre at the University of Warwick to explore the experiences of construction workers using the Health Hub, and the benefits these additional services had on employee mental wellbeing.
The Health Hub offered a fully equipped on-site wellbeing centre, which was available 24/7 throughout the life of the construction project. Facilities included a gym, canteen, outdoor social space and TV room.
Of the 107 participants in the initiative, two thirds acknowledged that the facilities helped to make their lives easier, indicating lower anxiety levels with increased use. More than half of participants admitted that they would like to see similar facilities on future projects.
When asked about challenges they face at work, participants highlighted work-life balance and being away from families as key factors in their wellbeing.
The study also revealed that participants who were self-employed (70%) and supervisors (12%) reported significantly greater feelings of loneliness, while supervisors had higher depression scores.
Emma Ford, construction director for the IFA project and Health Hub business sponsor at National Grid, said: “As a business, we pride ourselves on the health and wellbeing programmes we provide for our people.
“The Health Hub was designed to not only support the team on this job, but to engender a change of mindset for everyone involved and life beyond IFA.”
Alongside the Health Hub, research partners at the University of Warwick conducted an in-depth analysis of the challenges faced by the workers.
Participants described the impact of long working hours on their physical and mental wellbeing and family life, as well as the stigma surrounding mental health.
Carla Toro, associate professor at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, said: “It was a privilege to work with National Grid on this important project. There is a large research gap on what helps to improve the mental wellbeing of construction workers.
“As a step beyond the traditional organisation-wide approach to wellbeing, National Grid has introduced an inclusive model that makes wellbeing support available for all construction workers from multiple organisations of all sizes, including MSMEs [micro, small and medium sized enterprises] and sole-traders.
“Our research findings from the National Grid and Warwick collaboration provide the first insights into what we hope will become a minimum standard to support and improve the wellbeing of construction workers at all construction sites.”
If you’re in crisis and need urgent help, there are many helplines staffed by trained people ready to listen, including the Samaritans, available 24/7 on 116 123 (free from any phone).