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Emily Hopson-Hill, COO at Zutec, explains how construction technology can take some of the pressure off of projects and how the industry needs to continue to support its people.

The construction industry has proven to be resilient in many ways during COVID-19. It has bounced back several times, adapting positively to changes in work practices, even after a complete shutdown in spring of last year.

However, while productivity has continued at a steady pace throughout this challenging time, construction professionals’ mental health has struggled, with already high numbers of those affected increasing due to the pandemic.[1]

It’s therefore vital we continue to provide staff with all the tools needed to feel safe, happy and appreciated – whether that be user-friendly tech making their lives easier or simply someone to talk to.

In the construction tech sector, we are continuously finding ways to make complex processes easier, less stressful and safer for those working on building projects. Software can streamline work from the design stage, right through to handover, greatly reducing uncertainty, time pressure and risk. Alongside delivering better project outcomes, these efficiencies have the potential to boost the emotional health and wellbeing of those involved.

Post-pandemic pressures

As the end of lockdown nears, more and more people are getting back to work, whether on site or at the office. That means, for those companies who have not done so already, it’s time to put a plan in place to make sure projects continue to go smoothly and that employees have the technological support they need to better facilitate their work.

Digital tools can help immensely with trying to meet and exceed timelines, as well as tackle a multitude of other challenges around submittals, inspections, and even effective team collaboration.[2] The construction world is changing fast, and the pace is moving even quicker as the sector gears up for a return to normality.

Stress relief via software

To keep up with these changes, many companies find themselves cutting corners to reach targets, which can cause stress and, in some cases, even land them in hot water. Those in the industry have to keep on top of various important factors, such as evolving regulations and accountability, which can be a complex and arduous process. The golden thread of information, whereby digital fingerprints will be recorded, letting you know who has done what and when, will also become increasingly expected, as well as be legally required, meaning businesses will have to find ways to manage all their data correctly and easily,

Using construction tech software, such as Zutec, reduces the admin burden on projects, ensures you can maintain compliance and accountability in even the most stringent environments, and can help reduce onsite accidents. Other major parts of a project, such as the handover phase, can be made less stressful using digital tools too, as they ensure files are kept secure and are easy to access, allow enhanced collaboration between teams, and help to avoid high costs.

In all, technology helps users to meet demanding deadlines, gain clarity on the information at hand, and keep up with the status of a project. It also ensures greater transparency and minimises the risk of missing or inaccurate data which can not only lead to failures in a project, but make the site unsafe.

Your people are your greatest asset

The construction industry is dictated by a need to stay on schedule and keep costs down. The pressure to achieve this can both hinder performance and negatively affect the wellbeing of those involved in a project.

Prior to COVID-19, the sector was known for causing poor mental health.[3] This has been exacerbated over the past year, but there has been a silver lining, which is that the pandemic has made not only the construction industry, but the world, acutely aware of the dangers of stress, anxiety and depression, and that more needs to be done to help those in need of support.

It’s fantastic that various mental health charities and organisations have spoken out, and come together, to provide training and assistance for construction professionals. It’s therefore crucial that in addition to the use of digital tools which make jobs simpler and safer, companies continue to provide personal support to their teams and make sure that they feel valued and heard.

From maintaining compliance to maintaining support

The pandemic has been extremely difficult for everyone, and while the world is beginning to open up again, there are still many changes and improvements to be made to the way the construction industry does business and supports its people.

Along with an increased focus on the safety of buildings, there needs to be a focus on relieving pressure from projects, and this can be achieved with the use of digital tools. From ensuring compliance is maintained and minimising risk, to enhancing collaboration between teams and reducing costs, technology is the answer.

As we approach a brighter, post-pandemic future, we must also remember to care for our teams, who have worked tirelessly throughout this past year, and make sure they continue to be supported both on site and off the clock. After all, without them, no project would be possible.

If you would like to read more stories like this, then please click here

[1] https://www.ukconstructionmedia.co.uk/news/mental-health-construction-deteriorates/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/smartsheet/2018/11/29/how-technology-is-transforming-the-construction-industry/?sh=588430e83e84

[3] https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/mental-health-and-wellbeing

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