Through the episode, we talked about the situations at work when tradespeople are at risk of experiencing loneliness, and the panel welcomed suggestions and comments about coping mechanisms from the On The Tools community.
Here are some of the things that we covered…
Q: Do you ever get lonely when you’re at work?
Matt: If you’re lone working, you can get stuck in your own mind, and sometimes that’s the hardest place to be. You could be working in a place where you might not have any service on your phone, so you can’t ring a mate- that’s tough too.
If it’s in winter, and you’re covered in muck, and it’s raining and it’s cold, it gets worse. And I think it gets to everyone, you could be the most positive person in the world and it would still impact you.
Q: Who do you think is at risk of experiencing loneliness?
Tim: It’s a silent epidemic. Tradespeople, especially singular trades, they’re the ones- in our mindset- who struggle the most.
You might be tied into one job, or staying away from home, and going back to that hotel room; you’re not mixing. In the bigger picture, you’re on your own. You can overthink things; it can make you very ill.
Q: Why do you think tradespeople get lonely?
Matt: The construction industry is male-dominated, first of all. It’s good to see that more women are getting involved. But, because it’s still majoritively men, we’re too proud to talk. […] I would hold it all in, and then I’d hit the roof because it would all come out in one go.
I always think that anything that’s going on in the world currently, you can overthink it. But if you take care of only yourself and your family first, that can simplify things a bit.
Q: What do you do when you feel lonely?
Matt: Self-care is a massive thing. If you self-care and take time out on your own, go out with the lads, or go to the gym, that helps a lot. Training in the mornings, I think, is great. It sets you up for a positive mindset and gets the endorphins going. I fully believe that exercise and meeting up with other people are the main things that can help.
Q What can we be doing about loneliness in the construction industry?
Tim: If you’re employed, your employer has a duty of care for your wellbeing… managers can be trained for mental health first aid, and so forth.
When the Big Brew counselling service went live last year, we had a massive following from it and everybody connected with it. We want to make that more so, now. We’ve got places for companies to get on board as well. It’s all about getting the construction industry to talk more.