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Bell, N, Powell, C and Sykes, P (2015) Securing the well-being and engagement of construction workers: An initial appraisal of the evidence. In: Raiden, A and Aboagye-Nimo, E (Eds.), Proceedings 31st Annual ARCOM Conference, 7-9 September 2015, Lincoln, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 489–498.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: engagement, safeguarding well-being, well-being
- ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9552390-9-0
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/b744675efe5c4d2d2f52f43ffaa8af1c.pdf
Construction sites pose unique challenges for employers who are seeking to develop interventions to improve outcomes for workers. The contractors who constructed the infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games were encouraged by the client organisation to actively engage their workers and promote their well-being. This paper examines how scholarly research has approached well-being and engagement in the construction industry. A literature review identified a total of 21 papers that have examined either well-being or engagement in construction and only a single paper examined both subjects. There has been very limited research into this area. The existing papers highlight a number of gaps which could be filled through future research. The concept of well-being in construction is poorly defined and predominantly focuses on stress and work-life balance. There is a lack of clarity or certainty about whether and how some of the recommendations for improving well-being can be realistically implemented in construction, such as giving workers more flexible working arrangements. It is also unclear what specific benefits construction companies, and their clients, could expect to see from engagement or well-being strategies. Consequently, it is currently difficult to make a convincing business case or plan for the introduction of well-being or engagement strategies in construction. Nonetheless, there is evidence that engagement and well-being strategies can improve outcomes for individual construction workers and professionals, such as maintaining or improving health or promoting safety or skills development. Many of the practices that engage individuals also promote well-being: They do not need to be approached as completely separate issues. The extant research suggests that construction companies could usefully review; how they allocate and use resources on projects; the leadership and coaching skills of site managers; how workers can influence the planning of their work, and; their human resources procedures.