If Somebody on Your Team was Struggling, could they Talk to you About it?

Your first reaction to that question might be, ‘Yes, of course. We have an open door policy and we’re always ready to listen.’

Now Stop. Close your eyes and think a little deeper. Put yourself in the position of that person. What would they actually do? Who would they talk to? What would that experience look like and feel like?

And now the crunch question: imagine if the person struggling was you.

Would you really feel able to admit it and ask for help? Perhaps you would worry about how it made you look with colleagues and superiors. Maybe you’d retreat behind a brave face and accept that we don’t talk about our problems and worries. Stress just goes with the job.

If that sounds like you, then you are like a lot of people in our industry. And that’s why construction has such a shocking record when it comes to the mental health of our workforce.

Like it or not, we are not good enough at looking for and recognising the signs of stress and poor mental health. We don’t do a good enough job of convincing our people that we expect them to reach out for help when they need it. We don’t place enough importance on work-life balance and coaching our people to take better care of their emotional wellbeing.

As an organisation, Osborne is happy to put our hands up and say, ‘we need to do more.’

Last year, Osborne signed an employer pledge with ‘Time to Change’, the growing social movement run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. This supports people to open up to mental health problems.

They have also got 25, trained Mental Health First Aiders to help encourage people to talk more freely about mental health, reduce stigma and create a more positive culture, so they are committed to changing the way we all think and act about mental health in the workplace.

Part of our transformation process involves making sure we understand how things look through the eyes of our team; so, we can answer the question in the title confidently and positively.

We aim to ensure that the recent feedback from one of our trainees represents a universal view:

“We all need support at some point and we are encouraged at Osborne through our line management and through regular 1-2-1 meetings. It is encouraged to air any concerns before they become issues and we are assured that it’s not a weakness to ask for help and support. We also have our Supporting You, Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This is in partnership with AXA and provides 24/7 access to their confidential and non-judgemental support service. This service can help people if they need to talk through financial issues, relationship and family matters, stress and anxiety, bullying and harassment or any health worries.”

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