Fostering Jobsite Motivation And Productivity

We’ve spoken about productivity many times, in particular in relation to how events that, on the face of it, appear to be beyond our control. While we’ve demonstrated how those can be minimised, today we wanted to shift focus slightly to something that is definitely able to be improved by good jobsite management, even though it’s invisible to many of us.

Motivation is always a factor in the workplace, whether it’s a call centre, building site or anywhere else. Maintaining an enthusiastic workforce has been a challenge since the very first days of management, yet its something that the building trade is inherently poor at. It’s probably because we have a habit of promoting from within, obviously not a bad thing in itself, but that has to come with the appropriate training and skills development. Workers quickly go from being ‘one of the boys’ (or girls!), to being the boss overnight, and that comes with its own problems. Whether its resentment from old peers about having to do what the new boss says, or struggling to find a way to tell people they see as friends to pull their socks up, it’s all part of the skill set required to be an effective manager and leader.

It’s not really those areas that are easiest to solve though. They’re important, yes, but it’s the working environment that is easiest to change, and often has the most remarkable results. For example, you can see from how affordable jobsite radios can be. For less that £100, you can get music on site that’s going to help your team enjoy their day a little more. Even the more expensive models tend to be under the £200 mark, so it’s not exactly a big purchase in the scheme of things. Research has shown time and time again that building sites with music playing tend to be more productive on average. You should, however, check that you don’t need a PRS licence, as building sites are often classed as workplaces. Typically, if you need a licence, it’s not particularly expensive, and certainly significantly cheaper than getting caught without one.

Back on subject, there are indirect factors from listening to the radio at work which can be beneficial. Typically sites listen to commercial local radio. That means they’re listening to something that’s designed to be entertaining. It’s music that’s fairly easy to listen to, regular short news bulletins, weather forecasts, traffic news, and slightly inane chat from people who are very good at small talk. That’s clearly a good mix of bite size audio, so unlikely to distract workers for long. You’ll find it had a strange effect of team building too – more extrovert members of the team will often suddenly burst into song, amusing and bonding with other members that they otherwise would rarely speak to. The weather updates in particular might have particular value. If you’ve got people that can’t work in the rain, it might enable them to shuffle their day around to get work done before the heavens open.

Of course, this is just one example of improving working conditions. You can provide tea, coffee and a kettle – it’s a small thing but people value not having to think about providing their own. It’s not so much about the monetary value, but think about their lives before they arrive in the morning. They might have kids to pack off to school, relatives to care for, or simply appreciate a few extra minutes in bed. For those people, it’s not tea and coffee – it’s the boss taking an interest in making their life a bit easier.

All in all, there’s no rocket science here – this is just common sense – if it crosses your mind to think about it. If you can motivate a team to want to work for you, rather than dread to turn up in the morning, that’s half your battle won. Of course you’re still going to need to have awkward conversations from time to time with your direct reports, but there’s no need to make your own life harder than it needs to be. What you’re left with is just a necessary part of the job – and what that salary at the end of the month pays for!