Remember to think about your team during these challenging times and take the opportunity to prepare a solid foundation for your company’s future once work resumes.
AS I WRITE this, we are all within our bubbles for the good of our country, family and friends. During trying times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, this often draws our focus from the important things.
Focus on what’s important
So, what are the important things? At this time, each person, each family and each business will have their own challenges to focus on, but as a Health and Safety Advisor, I would like to offer the following ideas:
- Stay at home and be kind. Be kind to those around you, spend as much time connecting with loved ones as you can while practising physical distancing and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
- Look after your team. With nearly 3 years under my belt as a Site Safe New Zealand Advisor, I am fortunate to work for an organisation that reminds our learners every day of how important people are.
Support your team
COVID-19 is abruptly reminding us all of how delicate our systems and processes are and the importance of being part of a team. We are all in this together, and we are going to need one another in the months to come as we try to put the pieces back together. There are many ways you can support your team during this difficult time.
Here are some simple ideas you could add to your list:
- Keep in contact with your workers. Just as we are encouraged to maintain contact with our family, don’t forget that your workers are your family too. Arrange group video calls with them if possible or send them a quick text message to see how they are coping. A simple phone call and a ‘how are you doing?’ can make a huge difference.
- Keep your workers involved and ask for their input. Keep them n the loop. Sharing even the simplest task with your team can help take the load off your shoulders, make your team feel valuable and reduce stress levels.
- Don’t forget to say thank you. Thank your team for their efforts, for their contribution and for the important tasks that they have recently done such as isolating and securing the worksite before lockdown.
Prepare for the future
Use some of this time to prepare and create a good solid foundation for your business in the months to come. Here are some ideas about how to do this:
- Have a plan for the work you will do, ideally documented so people can refer to it as needed. Be clear on what needs to be done. Determine whether you have the right process, the right equipment and the right people for the job. Make sure everyone knows their role in the job process and knows when to ask for help.
- Understand the potential weak points in the work you will do and put measures in place to reduce any downtime. No plan is perfect, but the more time we spend now on understanding the weak points, the more time we can spend on the job and the less time pausing the work.
- Keep an eye on your plans and progress. Monitor your work and try to fix problems before they become too serious. Tweaking the process as faults are found is a lot easier and a lot more cost-effective than stopping the job and taking time to rethink everything from scratch.
- Have the right people on the job. What you are going to need is a team that can get on with it, a team that is capable of doing the job when things run smoothly and when things change. It’s not only about skill though. It’s about attitude and willingness to push forward through difficult times. Develop your people and work with them to build their innovation and creativity skills so that the job can continue and you as the business leader can focus on future work if needed.
Improve your business
There are principles that are used in health and safety that can help improve your productivity, quality and business culture.
Looking briefly at the four points above:
- Point 1 is a task analysis.
- Point 2 is a risk assessment.
- Point 3 highlights the benefits of an effective incident investigation system that focuses on minor events, such as near misses, as well as serious events.
- Point 4 is about continually promoting a positive team culture.
These are just four of the many principles that could help you and your team succeed in the months ahead and are perhaps yet another reason to keep putting safety first, even during trying times.
Need to talk?
Helpful support services if you need to talk include:
- MATES in Construction – call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 111 315 or free text5353
- Mental Health Foundation – contact a 24-hour trained counsellor by texting 1737.
Articles are correct at the time of publication but may have since become outdated.