What got us through 2020: The year of unpredictability
Mental health in homebuilding. It sounds pretty uncorrelated at first, but so many people don't realize that this topic makes a huge splash for so many different groups. This business can be as straining on both the client as it is on the builder, and even subcontractors. So, since this topic really hits home (pun intended) and has been heavy on out hearts, we wanted to touch on this and explain the mental health effects of the industry on homebuilders such as ourselves. We are building a custom home, and that means it hasn't been done before! So somewhere along the line it's almost a guarantee something will go wrong, but we hold on to the the idea that our clients chose us to make it right for them.
While it may come as a surprise to most, the construction industry has the highest suicide rate of any other profession. In fact, more than 80% of construction workers have experienced stress at work, and since this is a male-dominated industry, most victims do not seek help. In a survey, nearly 60% of construction workers reported struggling with mental health, and we strive to be in the 40% that does not. At Younger Homes we push to shine a constant light on this issue by combatting the effects of stressors in the industry and aiding our employees and subcontractors in multiple ways. This, in turn, benefits an amplitude of people groups, clients included.
Being that we are a 100% remote company since 2018, we have found it allows for much more flexibility in our employees lives. Reducing the stress of needing a babysitter for the day, or allowing time to go drop the kids off at school. In fact, two of our full time employees don't even live in state! We also believe in unlimited YH personal days, no counted days off, or squishing a whole vacation into one weekend for fear of missing work. Within reason, we work as a family to cover another employee should they need a day off here or there. This helps us to feel loved and cared for by our work community, as well as reduce stress in the workplace.
"From day one, I have never felt so comfortable, productive, or appreciated than I have by the Younger Homes team." Sophia Kidd, Sustainable Design Intern
In addition, we incorporate team events every few months. Events like this can be a day or a weekend in which we invite employees and their partners to come hangout. We spend the time getting to know each other outside of the workplace and sometimes do team building activities! These moments can include keeping a baseball and glove in the truck to play catch for 15 minutes with our trades all the way up to a day on the lake or a local concert! We have found this both reduces stress and also gives insight into our coworkers lives, what their families are like, and what the like to do for fun. Feeling truly cared about in a place where one has a set role and expectations can help improve the mental health of an individual immensely.
Furthermore, with the current unprecedented and consistent rise in material costs affecting profit margins for all parties involved, additional stressors are being placed on construction workers, homebuilders, and clients alike. With what seems like never-ending lead times on products, and a labor market sparse as a result of COVID-19, the mental health conditions in the industry are worse than ever. Shana, our rockstar General Manager mentioned that "As a whole, stress levels in the homebuilding industry are higher than I have ever seen in my 20 years of homebuilding". We know that these are desperate times, and we want to release as much stress as possible on all parties involved. As a result, Younger Homes purposefully strives to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with our trade partners. Whether it be asking how they are as soon as we enter the job site or a quick game of catch, we care about not just our mental health, but our subcontractors mental health as well.
"Communicating constantly and [establishing] long lasting partnerships helps to ease the stress of our subcontractors, which flows to our team, allowing clients to see progress on their projects." Shana Reid, General Manager
By opening communication between all parties involved, it pushes us to work collaboratively to land on resolutions to the market's problems such as price spikes, material availability, and labor shortages. Having trade partners that help us, prioritize our projects, and work as hard as we do really helps out our team in more ways than one. Creating such a fun, productive environment in the field as well as the office motivates us to serve our clients to the best of our abilities. In upcoming blogs, we will discuss the mental health of our clients, how we ease the stressors of a custom home project, and the importance of nature on daily mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the Online Lifeline Crisis Chat. Both are free and confidential, and you will be connected to a counselor in your area.
Talented Photographer: Brittany Dawson