Two Years On: How COVID-19 Has Changed Construction Sites For the Better
Blog-April 1, 2022
It will be several years until we fully understand the impact of COVID-19. But as construction continues to recover, we are starting to see the legacy of lockdown has had on the industry.
From increasing employee flexibility to a trend towards more innovative welfare units, there are a number of ways the pandemic has altered leaders’ priorities and preferences. And in this article, we explore three ways this has changed sites for the better.
1. Embracing technology
The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption across the vast majority of industries. But in construction – an industry historically resistant to change – the embrace of digital has had a very striking impact.
From a boom in remote working to the implementation of project management software, lockdowns have forced construction firms to adapt. The Oxford Business Review argues that this will be a key part of future efforts to introduce younger workers and confront skills gaps¹.
The hope is it will galvanise greater investments in innovation moving forward. From Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms to mobile welfare units, there are a range of innovative products on the market which could radically improve construction sites.
2. Emphasis on employee welfare
According to HSE, stress, depression, & anxiety remains the second highest cause of work-related ill health within the construction industry.² This makes sense: the workplace is unusually dangerous, and most construction sites have historically been defined by stoicism and a lack of openness.
The pandemic has shed vital light on these issues. Employee health and wellbeing have become increasingly central to conversations about the workplace. And this will carry on well into the future.
We expect to see increased flexibility for workers; more hygenic onsite facilities; increased welfare space for employee downtime; and greater efforts to tackle the stigma around mental health.
3. Collaboration and resilience
Perhaps more than anything, lockdowns have demonstrated to the construction industry just how quickly things can change. From the initial challenges of lockdown to the more recent supply chain crisis, businesses have had to be adaptable in ways previously unthinkable.
In many cases, the result has been heartening. We’ve seen an increase in collaboration, with many organisations sharing best practice on health and safety of the workforce and managing contractual disputes.³
It has also placed a renewed emphasis on trust and the importance of picking strong partners. Businesses are heavily reliant on their suppliers – from raw materials to welfare units. And in the wake of COVID-19, choosing partners that will genuinely support them has become a priority for many organisations.