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Deconstructing Construction Stereotypes

Working to Reinforce Wellness

By Dawn Allen, vice president of Human Resources, Metromont

Dawn Allen

The construction industry is a fast-paced, deadline-focused industry that often requires long hours, hard work, and frequent travel. From sales, engineering, and project management to production, construction, and field services, stress is an inherent part of the work we do. While a measure of stress can be helpful for completing tasks and meeting deadlines, stress that isn’t properly managed can become debilitating and can lead to physical ailments, depression, and other mental health issues. That’s why Metromont is leaning into the importance of mental health and the overall well-being of every member of our work family by providing tools and resources to help our associates manage the work-related stress in their lives.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are a common health-focused benefit offered by many companies in the construction industry as a resource to provide employees with everything from career guidance to mental health resources, at no cost to our employees. Among the many resources offered at no cost to Metromont’s employees through our EAP, a few highlights include:

  • Face-to-face counseling
  • Unlimited telephone counseling 24/7.
  • Online modules and coaching to learn, develop, and practice new skills that improve mental fitness
  • Unlimited access to Work/Life services 24/7 where experts help in the areas of: family and care giving, health and wellness, emotional well-being, daily living, balancing work and life responsibilities

 

Although the use of our EAP is completely confidential, we know many people still hesitate to use these resources. That is why we’ve gone several steps further to lend a hand when it comes to supporting mental health and wellness.

Each of our six manufacturing plants has a nurse practitioner onsite available at no charge. The nurse practitioner conducts wellness checks, routine physicals, and serves as a first line of contact when an employee’s well-being, physical or emotional, begins to crack.

We also offer English and Spanish speaking onsite chaplains. Our chaplains meet with our team members and keep all discussions confidential. A person need not be any religion; our chaplains are here simply to lend a listening ear and offer guidance that helps our team stay healthy and feeling heard, valued, and helped whenever needed.

As a member of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), we are also partnering with other industry experts to help deconstruct the stereotype of who a construction worker “ought” to be. We’re reaching across lines and making connections; training our supervisors and managers to look for signs of employee distress; and providing guidance on how to address tough conversations.

Most importantly, we’re building a culture that encourages open discussion about stress and real-life issues in a way that builds confidence, internal well-being, fortitude, and peace of mind.

Just as with prestressed concrete slabs, everyone experiences pressure. Some pressure can cause flexing, causing us to bend. Some pressure can even cause cracks. But it is imperative that we do everything in our power to help relieve that pressure so – just like our products – we don’t break but instead bounce back to our full strength again.

If you or anyone you know needs immediate mental health assistance, please call the National Mental Health Hotline 866-903-3787 for free and confidential 24/7 assistance.

 


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