The holidays are coming and construction companies are gearing up and planning on how to manage a project efficiently amidst the mad rush and family getaways. Construction crew management becomes a real challenge as most workers hang-up with get-togethers and vacations that their productivity levels drop low. However, there are a couple of ways to keep the work rolling and push the team to work as hard as the ordinary days without sacrificing their holiday plans. From work-from-home options to a reasonable holiday crew schedule, check out these proven methods on how to keep your construction workers on track and focused this coming festive season.
Holiday Problems in the Construction Industry
The dreaded but unavoidable dip in construction workers’ productivity starts as the world’s attention now turns to the winter holidays. Halloween is over, but Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are bigger feasts and they’re yet to come. While it’s going to be the merriest season for workers with a bonus and vacation benefits to enjoy, it will be the opposite for project managers and contractors as they struggle to keep their team together to meet crew schedules in between the holidays.
Between Christmas and New Year are a few days that aren’t considered work holidays in the U.S. The company’s choice is whether it will call its workers back to work or during those days or allow them to go on a long break. However, the work suspension often results in a loss of momentum in workers, resulting in a drop in their productivity for days or weeks before getting back into their routine.
Some construction workers still come from other states, so they often expect a higher pay or holiday pay between Christmas and New Year as a moral factor for being away from their families. Without it, they feel forced to work and end up being unproductive.
The key to resolving these issues is to set a realistic goal during the holidays. Expect to see a slower turnaround until January 1st but still demand high-quality output. Don’t force your construction team to work on Christmas and New Year, but inform them early if you plan to continue work in between those celebrations. It doesn’t hurt to reward them with a little more, too, for their sacrifice.
There are indeed effective ways that will allow your construction team to enjoy the season while keeping your bottom line strong. Here are a few more suggestions you can use:
1. Arrange a team to work during the holidays
It may not be necessary to have all workers come to work during the holidays. Announce that you expect a certain number of your crew to be present. By planning and scheduling tasks effectively, you should determine which part of the project will be ongoing during the holidays. Consequently, you can specify which team is it that you need to go to work. Announce in advance so that workers can also map out their vacation credits before the holiday season. When you’re successful at implementing this, you can keep the project rolling without forcing your crew members to sacrifice their social obligations.
2. Work-from-home options are not for everyone
Be cautious about allowing your project team to do their work from home. Not all can do it. Your laborers aren’t qualified for this privilege, but project managers do. Thanks to construction software, managers can manage a project no matter where they may be without any difficulties. With features for scheduling, communicating, and collaborating, managers can ensure productivity at the site without going to the site to check on work progress.
On the other hand, if you are still in the planning or designing stage, carrying out meetings via Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet can be efficient and collaboration can be done through project management software such as Pro Crew Schedule. But make sure to set goals and demand for output so that your team working from home won’t slack off.
3. Workplace celebrations can boost productivity too
In a previous blog, we’ve discussed improving productivity among construction workers that treating your construction team to something nice can boost their morale, motivating them to be more productive. The holiday season is the best time to show your gratefulness and generosity to your workers by setting up a luncheon or team dinner. Taking a short break from work and checking out on your employees can give them the impression that you care for them hence arousing their loyalty to you that pushes them to work harder even if it’s a holiday.
4. Don’t schedule complicated activities in November or December
We told you before how some errors in construction can’t be avoided. Well, November and December aren’t the months to make mistakes if you don’t want to spend the holidays at the site. Besides, most of your workers’ mind will be drifting away from their tasks during these months as their imagination will be preoccupied with familial commitments. Manage tasks efficiently so that before these months, the problematic phases are already done.
Likewise, avoid launching new projects during these months if your team is currently vacant. With everyone busy preparing for Christmas, you may find it hard to gather your team together and get your new initiative off the ground.
5. Manage your client’s expectations
Clients tend to be very demanding even during the holidays, making them a huge stress source for your team. This is especially true when their expectations aren’t met. As a result, your crew members feel lazier and become more unproductive.
To avoid disappointing your client and dispiriting your construction crew, apply the adage “under-promise, over-deliver.” Be realistic and let your client know that there will be lesser output during the holidays but ensure that the project will still move and finish on time.
6. Be reasonable when managing construction works during holidays
You might be getting too much pressure from your client, but as we mentioned earlier, you should manage their expectation so you can also be reasonable when it comes to construction crew management. Don’t work them to the ground and expect them to pull all-nighters when they have to attend family gatherings. Besides, it’s not all-year-round that they get to have a holiday break.
7. Consider offering flexible time
Flexi hours are perfect when asking your crew members to work during the holidays. You don’t want to pay a drunk crew in full when all he did at the site was to sit and relieve his hangover. Instead, you might want him to sobber up first before he clocks into work. That way, he can perform his tasks better and give better output.
But this doesn’t mean that your team members can show up anytime they want or leave when they feel like going. Make sure that they understand your terms when they work on a flexible schedule like completing their time. Compel them to record their time using your project management software so that you can identify those who are abusing their flexi-time privilege.
Researches show that flexi-hours are good productivity boosters during the holiday season but still ensure that the workers get their tasks done. Encourage your team members to plan and manage tasks using your project management software and always check out updates so they can hit their targets.
8. Try not to demand overtime work
Overtimes can’t be avoided in construction as many issues may arise while the workers do their tasks. Equipment may malfunction, materials may be delivered late, or accidents may happen. These problems can make it extra challenging to manage a project during the holiday. This is why you need a skilled project manager to resolve issues quickly.
By employing construction crew management software, communication becomes faster and the site can report issues immediately to the office. Project managers can then plan for mitigation and solution before the problem becomes bigger, requiring the workers to work overtime.
Also, when you keep everyone on the same page by sending consistent data, your team can work faster without confusion. Errors will be minimized, reworks can be avoided, and they will be able to accomplish more during their shift.
And like we mentioned earlier, manage your expectations and be reasonable when assigning tasks during the holidays. Let them rest for a while, and you can take your much-needed break from managing construction activities too.
Finally, if overtime is necessary, offer higher pay or some incentive so that the team you assign to work on the urgencies will perform efficiently.
Managing construction during the holidays can indeed be extra challenging. Setting realistic expectations, writing a reasonable crew schedule, and leveraging project management software working during the holidays shouldn’t be so hectic.
You can also check out more of our productivity tips here – 8 Tips to Motivate Your Construction Team and Increase Productivity.